April 1, 2005
4th Circuit considers alternative sentences
Last summer, in the wake of Blakely, the Fourth and Sixth Circuits held Blakely inapplicable to the federal guidelines but also "recommended" to district courts that they announce an alternative sentence treating the guidelines as advisory "in the interest of judicial economy." As detailed in posts here and here and here, I thought this recommendation was curious and questionable (as did District Judge Goodwin as discussed here). But, now that Booker has in fact made the guidelines advisory, this recommendation looks wiser now than it did before.
Interestingly, today the Fourth Circuit issued two unpublished decisions in cases in which the district court did announce alternative sentences in the wake of Blakely:
- In US v. Anderson, No. 04-4621 (4th Cir. Mar. 31, 2005) (available here), the sentence is affirmed; the Fourth Circuit asserts "that because the alternative sentence the district court pronounced in case the federal sentencing guidelines were invalidated was identical to the mandatory sentence imposed under the federal sentencing guidelines as they existed at that time, any error resulting from the sentence imposed by the district court was harmless."
- In US v. Scott, No. 04-5074 (4th Cir. Mar. 31, 2005) (available here), the sentence is remanded; the Fourth Circuit explains that the defendant sought an expedited remand (which the government did not oppose) to allow the district court "to implement the thirty-month alternative sentence announced by the court" (which was 16 months less than the mandatory guidelines sentence which was imposed before Booker).
April 1, 2005 at 02:36 AM | Permalink
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Last July my husband was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison camp. At the time of sentencing the judge gave an alternative sentence of 15 months. Can someone please give me some idea as to how this might work and what to expect?
Posted by: Still in Limbo | Apr 1, 2005 8:55:29 AM
The really strange thing is that in Anderson the court affirms on the basis of the alternative sentence, but in Scott the court remands "to allow the district court to reconsider Scott's sentence in light of the Booker decision." In other words, the equal alternate sentence is automatically OK, but the lower alternate must be "reconsidered." What about a higher alternate sentence?
Am I the only one who thinks that doesn't quite make sense?
Posted by: JDB | Apr 1, 2005 11:20:36 AM
Can anyone tell me if Federal inmates are
being resentenced due to Booker/Fanfan decision.
My son received a 30 month sentence March/04
and has filed a Habeas Corpus on the sentencing because the judge stated that he would like to give a lighter sentence but the guidelines would
not permit it. The judge felt the outstanding community service my son was continuously involved in over many years was a reason for a lesser sentence.
The habeas corpus was filed in late February but there is no decision as yet.
Thank you in advance for any information you can offer.
Posted by: Jean G. | Apr 1, 2005 4:19:29 PM
I noticed this seeming inequity, JDB, although the relief granted in Scott seems to be what the defendant requested. Thus, this might not reflect different treatment (although I actually think all these sorts of alternatives ought to be reconsidered in light of Booker).
Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 1, 2005 10:40:00 PM
Im scheduled to be sentence next week facing 24 -30 months ( by the guidelines) in federal prison. My lawyer has requested time served for the two months in custody and a lighter sentence of 18 month probation in light of mitigating factors and no priors and the lost of the custody of my child if a get time. Do you think this will be possible for the judge to consider? Help.... thank you...
Posted by: C Vazquez | Apr 3, 2005 10:02:07 AM