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May 26, 2006

Two more notable reasonableness wins for prosecutors

As documented in this post tracking reasonableness review outcomes (which I'll be updating soon), prosecutors have done well in post-Booker appellate review of sentences.  Thursday brought two more government wins on reasonableness appeals:

  • The Seventh Circuit in US v. Farris, No. 05-1781 (7th Cir. May 25, 2006) (available here) rejects the defendant's reasonableness complaints concerning his 10-year sentence after he "pleaded guilty to two counts of sending threatening communications through the U.S. mail."  The case is notable because the district court did not appear to review the 3553(a) factors with particularity, but the appeals panel still found various ways to declare the within-guidelines sentence reasonable.
  • The Eighth Circuit in US v. Rogers, No. 05-3184 (8th Cir. May 25, 2006) (available here) continues its pattern of reversing nearly every downward variance it sees.  Rogers is interesting because, as detailed here, the Eighth Circuit had previously reversed a sentence of probation based on a large downward departure.  This time around, the defendant was given a year in prison for a seemingly minor felon-in-possession crime.  But the Eighth Circuit still finds the below-guideline sentence unreasonable:

At the re-sentencing, the district court did not use the factors in § 3553(a) to guide sentencing. Instead, it imposed the lowest sentence it thought might "pass scrutiny" with this court.  Rogers argues that at re-sentencing his counsel did review some of the 3553(a) factors. The district court, however, never mentions or acknowledges any of these factors at the re-sentencing.  We will not infer a reasoned exercise of discretion from a record that suggests otherwise or is silent.

May 26, 2006 at 04:40 AM | Permalink


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