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June 5, 2006

Jamie Olis, loss calculations, and white-collar sentencing after Booker

Among many strong posts over at the White Collar Crime Prof Blog, Ellen Podgor notes here that there will (finally!) be some developments in the Jamie Olis resentencing case this week "as experts will present evidence on what the court should use as the loss factor in determining the sentence."  Regular readers will recall that Olis' initial (pre-Booker) sentence of 24 years was reversed by the Fifth Circuit based on a mis-calculation of the applicable losses used in the guideline calculation.

Ellen quite rightly spotlights that the Olis case presents "a perfect opportunity for the judge to go beyond numerical calculations."  She suggests that a sentencing determination should not "be so heavily dominated by a numerical calculation that bears little resemblance to the actual culpability of the individual." In this separate post, Ellen also discusses "whether white collar offender sentences are being questioned by judges in this post-Booker to a greater degree than other sentences."  She  suggests that post-Booker sentencing trends might "send a signal to the Congress that these sentences need to be reevaluated."

Returning to the Olis case, there is no doubt that Booker gives Judge Sim Lake a lot more authority to consider a lot more issues other than loss.  Indeed, it is arguably silly for excessive time and attention to be devoted to precise loss calculations in a case like Olis' where there are so many other sentencing factors to consider.  However, because the Fifth Circuit and other circuits have generally decreed that precise and proper guideline calculations are still essential after Booker, there will surely still be lots of loss discussion in all future white-collar sentencings.

June 5, 2006 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

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