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August 31, 2004

Judge Presnell Speaks again!

Despite being in hurricane alley, US District Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the Middle District of Florida continues to do amazing and important sentencing work (his prior rulings can be found here and here). His latest contribution comes in US v Shelton, No. 6:04-cr-72-Orl-31KRS (M.D. Fla. Aug. 30, 2004), which can be downloaded below.

After running through standard guideline calculations in a relatively standard crack case, here's what Judge Presnell says in Shelton:

There you have it — a simple, rational, fair and humane way to determine an appropriate sentence under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. In sum, Defendant is not an individual, he is a number, i.e., 31-VI.

In U.S. v. King, Case No. 6:04-cr-35-Orl-31KRS, this Court held the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines unconstitutional, but indicated that it would look to the Guidelines for guidance. In this case, the Guidelines do not produce a just result. Mr. Shelton is a small-time drug user/dealer. The instant offense involved a trivial amount of drugs and his prior convictions (all served in one concurrent sentence) are subjectively stale by any reasonable standard. Under these circumstances, a 15-year sentence is clearly unwarranted.

This case illustrates the concern Justice Kennedy expressed by America’s reliance on incarceration as a means of criminal punishment, especially for drug-related offenses. At its meeting on August 10, 2004, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates approved the Kennedy Commission’s recommendations which, among other things, urge repeal of mandatory minimum sentences and the exercise of judicial discretion; reserving lengthy sentences (like this) for offenders who pose the greatest danger to the community. Defendant is not one of these people.

Considering all relevant factors, including Defendant’s criminal history, the Court believes that a sentence of 70 months is appropriate.


Download us_v. Shelton (04-cr-72).pdf

August 31, 2004 at 01:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

my husband was sentenced for a computer crime under Judge Presnell in April 2004. At the sentencing the judge increased the amout of loss he believed was correct, increasing it 25 thousand dollars and gave my husband a special skill enhancement. THis is oposite of his findings. Hi public defender has refused to help him. there is belief and information that the victum lied under oath and the fbi is covering it up. my husband was also sentenced under the wrong guidelines.

Posted by: donna | Sep 27, 2004 8:05:39 AM

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