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January 3, 2006

DC Circuit rings in a not-so-new Booker year

The DC Circuit wins the prize for birthing the first new Booker baby of 2006, although the court's opinion today in US v. Godines, No. 04-3158 (DC Cir. Jan. 3, 2006) (available here) suggests that we are likely to see the same ole Booker in the new year. 

The Godines opinion has some interesting tidbits of analysis, but the main ruling is simply that the district court's pre-Booker announcement of an "alternative sentencing rationale rendered harmless any error in the mandatory Guidelines sentence."  Of interest is a concurrence which, though purporting to "clarify the state of the law of this circuit," seems to add an extra layer to Booker harmless error analysis.

UPDATE: I also now see a few sentencing dispositions on the Eighth Circuit's official opinion page that likewise suggest that Booker rulings in 2006 are going to look a lot like Booker rulings in 2005.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  Folks interested in more new year analysis of Booker harmless error issues can also check out the Fourth Circuit's US v. Rodriguez, No. 04-4069 (4th Cir. Jan. 3, 2006) (available here), though that decision is most notable for its ruling about when a Booker error is preserved.

January 3, 2006 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

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