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July 22, 2005

Fifth Circuit finds "Fanfan error" not harmless

The Fifth Circuit in US v. Walters, No. 04-20669 (5th Cir. July 21, 2005) (available here), explains its basic framework for examining claims of Booker error for cases sentenced pre-Booker.  The Walters court ultimately remands for resentencing because the defendant preserved what "this Court has termed 'Fanfan error,' [that is,] the district court applied the mandatory Guidelines to enhance a defendant's sentence absent any Sixth Amendment Booker error."  Besides providing a good exposition of the Fifth Circuit's approach to these cases, Walters is noteworthy because of the lengths the government goes to argue that the "Fanfan error" was harmless, even though the record below makes painfully obvious that the district court wanted to give the defendant a lesser sentence.

July 22, 2005 at 02:21 AM | Permalink

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