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August 2, 2004

The Fourth Circuit speaks!!!

This just in from one of my helpful readers:

The Fourth Circuit, mere hours after hearing en banc argument in US v. Hammoud, holds that it will not overturn the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in that case. It has issued an order to that effect, with opinions to follow later. District courts are also instructed ("recommended") to issue alternative sentences, in the event the Guidelines are not mandatory. I have not seen a link to the order yet, but that's the gist. The order does indicate that there will be dissenting opinions as well.

Details and commentary to follow as more information come in. In the meantime, here is an interesting article describing the argument before the Fourth Circuit today.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the order from the Fourth Circuit today:

After oral argument was heard by a panel of judges, a majority of the judges in active service voted to hear this appeal en banc. The en banc court heard argument on the matter on August 2, 2004. According to the vote of a majority of the en banc court constituted to hear this appeal, we affirm the judgment and hold that Blakely v. Washington, does not operate to invalidate Hammoud's sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines. Therefore, district courts within the Fourth Circuit are hereby instructed to continue sentencing defendants in accordance with the guidelines, as was the practice before Blakely. In the interest of judicial economy, however, we recommend that district court within the Fourth Circuit also announce, at the time of sentencing, a sentence pursuant to 18 USC 3553(a), treating the guidelines as advisory only. Majority and dissenting opinions will follow in due course. Entered at the direction of Chief Judge Wilkins, with the concurrence of the court.

August 2, 2004 at 05:00 PM | Permalink

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» 4th Circiuit Weighs in on Blakely from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Via Law Prof Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy: The 4th Circuit En Banc today has refused to invalidate the federal sentencing guidelines. The order states: According to the vote of a majority of the en banc court constituted... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 2, 2004 5:50:46 PM

» 4th Circuit Weighs in on Blakely from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Via Law Prof Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy: The 4th Circuit En Banc today has refused to invalidate the federal sentencing guidelines. The order states: According to the vote of a majority of the en banc court constituted... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 3, 2004 1:08:49 AM

Comments

A sentence "pursuant to 18 USC 3553(a)" is a sentence which is "sufficient but not greater than necessary" to achieve the various legitimate purposes of punishment. It would not really treat the Guidelines as "advisory only," as the 4th Circuit's order states, but rather as *presumptive,* given the reinforcement and encouragement of within-guidelines sentences afforded by the reasons requirement of section 3553(c) and the appellate review provisions of sec 3742 -- all of which work together as a unified whole to achieve guidelines-based "sentencing reforem," even if the mandatory aspect of sec 3553(b) is held unconstitutional under Blakely. Thus would severability work, when analyzed correctly.

Posted by: Peter G | Aug 2, 2004 6:44:47 PM

It would not really treat the Guidelines as "advisory only," as the 4th Circuit's order states

Posted by: Robe de Soirée 2013 | Dec 14, 2012 12:53:39 AM

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