Antonio Bras pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and highway project fraud and was sentenced to 37 months in prison. On appeal, Bras contended that the district court failed to adequately consider sentencing factors under the Sentencing Reform Act and the sentence was unreasonably long.
Notably, the panel rejected the government’s argument for application of a plain error standard due to Bras’ failure to object to the sentence in the trial court. In doing so, the court sided with the Third, Fourth, and Seventh Circuits in a circuit split regarding whether defendants must object to the reasonableness of a sentence in order to preserve the issue for appeal. “Reasonableness,” Garland wrote, “is the standard of appellate review, not an objection that must be raised upon the pronouncement of a sentence.” Still, under a “reasonableness” standard of review, the panel held that Bras had offered no basis to conclude the trial court’s consideration of the relevant sentencing factors was inadequate or the sentence was unreasonable.