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September 2, 2005

Judge Adelman on extraordinary acceptance of responsibility

Sentencing Hall of Famer Judge Lynn Adelman has added to his impressive body of post-Booker work through a recent opinion addressing extraordinary acceptance of responsibility and other offender characteristics in a case involving a seemingly sympathetic defendant.  All of US v. Milne, No. 05-CR-27 (E.D. Wis. Aug. 30, 2005) (available for download below) merits review, and here is a short excerpt:

Where appropriate, courts may grant additional consideration to defendants who demonstrate acceptance beyond that necessary to obtain a two or three level reduction under § 3E1.1. This is so because such conduct bears directly on their character, § 3553(a)(1), and on how severe a sentence is necessary to provide deterrence and punishment, § 3553(a)(2). Further, courts should encourage offenders to mitigate their misconduct voluntarily, whether by admitting it, paying restitution or making efforts to address substance abuse, mental health or other problems that contributed to it....

[A]fter Booker, courts are required to consider any § 3553(a) factor put forward by the defense that might make the guideline sentence inappropriate. In many cases, this requirement will necessitate consideration of the defendant's motive for committing the offense rather than merely the amount involved. A defendant who offends in order to support his family is less culpable and thus more deserving of leniency than one who steals from the vulnerable to finance a lavish lifestyle.  To distinguish between different types of defendants is not to treat the guidelines cavalierly but to take seriously the obligation to consider all of the § 3553(a) factors.

Download adelman_milne_opinion.pdf

September 2, 2005 at 02:14 PM | Permalink

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