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November 2, 2005

Thorough discussion of reasonableness in Seventh Circuit

The Seventh Circuit, which had expounded upon the concept of Booker reasonableness more than any other circuit, today continued to unpack this nebulous standard in upholding a 27-year sentencing in a child pornography case.  In US v. Newsom, No. 03-3366 (7th Cir. Nov. 2, 2005) (accessible here), the court, after a prior limited remand, thoroughly explores the defendant's arguments that his long sentence was unreasonable.  The Newsom court concludes with this explanation:

We note finally that under both the applicable statutes and the advisory Guidelines, Newsom could have received an even longer sentence.  As we noted earlier, his Guidelines range was 292 to 365 months; his sentence fell in the middle of that range. Although it might have been useful if the court had said a little more about the apparently exceptional severity of Newsom's sentence, our examination of this question has satisfied us that it was not great enough to require a finding of unreasonableness for a sentence that falls within a properly calculated Guidelines range.  See Mykytiuk, 415 F.3d at 608.  We therefore find that Newsom's sentence was not the result of plain error. The district court's conclusion that this was a reasonable sentence under all the circumstances is AFFIRMED.

Though aspects of the Seventh Circuit's analysis of reasonableness might be contested, the court merits praise for such a careful and thorough consideration of this question.  In sharp contrast, the Eighth Circuit today in US v. Zuleta, No. 05-1348 (8th Cir. Nov. 2, 2005) (available here), a case involving a seemingly small time drug courier, disposed of a Booker reasonableness claim with this one simple phrase: we "further find the 110-month sentence is not unreasonable when considered in light of the 18 U.S.C. ยง 3553(a) factors."

November 2, 2005 at 02:35 PM | Permalink

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