A Continuing Right to Notice: Why Irizarry V. United States Should not be the Last Word for District Courts Imposing Post-Booker Variance Sentences

Over the past few years, federal sentencing procedure has seen significant changes. Most recently, in Irizarry v. United States, the Supreme Court held that federal criminal defendants are not entitled to advance notice when a district court judge makes a sua sponte decision to sentence them at variance with the federal Sentencing Guidelines. This Note explains why the Irizarry decision wrongly interprets previous cases, ultimately putting a roadblock in what was designed to be an efficient and fair sentencing process. It is still the better policy for district courts to voluntarily provide advance notice to defendants sentenced outside the Sentencing Guidelines, regardless of Irizarry’s holding that advance notice is not required.