United States v. Hawkins, No. 05-4913-cr (2d Cir. April 30, 2006) (found here)
Hawkins pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud, and faced an advisory Guidelines range of 12-18 months. At sentencing, the district court (Judge Weinstein) sentenced Hawkins to three years probation. In doing so, the district court: (1) downwardly departed based on a finding of extraordinary rehabilitation; and (2) alternatively found that a sentence of three years probation was an appropriate non-Guidelines sentence based on the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors. Thus, the Second Circuit found that any error in the district court's downward departure analysis was harmless (to the extent that there was error) because the district court also indicated that the sentence imposed was supported as a non-Guidelines sentence by the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a):
We find that the district court properly discharged its statutory duty to consider the Section 3553(a) factors and explain its reasons for imposing a non-Guidelines sentence of probation. The resulting sentence is neither procedurally nor substantively unreasonable.