Wednesday, March 18, 2020

9th Circuit: Religious References At Sentencing Hearing Were OK

In United States v. Hong, (9th Cir., March 17, 2020), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a district court did not violate defendants' free exercise rights at a sentencing hearing in a fraud case, saying in part:
The district court did not plainly err in describing how the Hongs used religion to carry out their fraudulent scheme, in commenting on video footage showing Grace Hong speaking to a church group, or in mentioning the spiritual harm suffered by the Hongs’ victims. The Hongs point to no binding legal authority precluding a sentencing court from considering the religion of the victims or noting the spiritual impact of an offense on the victims.