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June 15, 2006

Interesting Feeney Amendment ruling from Third Circuit

Though the criminal justice headlines from SCOTUS today involved the Fourth Amendment and the exclusionary rule (see posts from SCOTUSblog and Orin Kerr), the Third Circuit has provided sentencing fun today through its ruling in US v. Coleman, No. 05-1348 (3d Cir. June 15, 2006) (available here).  In Coleman, as detailed here by How Appealing, the court "rejects a federal criminal defendant's argument that the entire Sentencing Guidelines system is unconstitutional because the Feeney Amendment allows the President to appoint to the Sentencing Commission only members of the Executive Branch."

In the Coleman opinion, the Third Circuit says that the defendant's "argument that the Feeney Amendment unconstitutionally allows the President to control sentencing might have been persuasive while the Guidelines were still mandatory, [but] it is misplaced under the now-advisory system."

June 15, 2006 at 03:33 PM | Permalink


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