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June 30, 2005

8th Circuit to reconsider reasonableness en banc

The Eighth Circuit this week has continues its torrid pace of clearing the Booker pipeline with nearly a dozen more dispositions, and I am still unable to keep up with all of that Circuit's Booker wisdom.  But, thanks to a helpful reader, I have learned that the Eighth Circuit has decided to reconsider, en banc, the wisdom of US v. Christenson, No. 04-2084 (8th Cir. Apr. 13, 2005) (available here).

Obsessive readers may recall that Christenson was one of a set of big cases the Eighth Circuit decided in April in which the Court decided that reasonableness review under Booker was to be akin to review for abuse of discretion.  And in Christenson, the government filed a 5K1.1. departure motion and recommend a sentence of 216 months' imprisonment down from the otherwise applicable sentence of 240 months.  But the district court sentenced Christenson to 60 months (even though defense counsel had proposed a sentence of 144 months), and the Eighth Circuit concluded this sentence "was not unreasonable."

The en banc order in Christenson, which is available here, is dated June 20 and indicates the government moved for rehearing en banc.  It also states that an "argument date will be fixed by a later order of this court."  It will be interesting to see whether and how the Eighth Circuit will use Christenson to expand on the meaning of reasonableness review after Booker.

June 30, 2005 at 08:36 AM | Permalink


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