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July 20, 2006

Explaining a record variance

Thanks to this post at the White Collar Crime Prof Blog, I see that SDNY Judge Jed Rakoff has authored a detailed opinion to explain the extraordinary below-guideline sentence he gave to former Impath Inc. President, Richard Adelson.  I discussed this notable sentence last month in posts here and here.  Judge Rakoff's sentencing memorandum in the Adelson case can now be accessed here, and it starts and ends this way:

This is one of those cases in which calculations under the Sentencing Guidelines lead to a result so patently unreasonable as to require the Court to place greater emphasis on other sentencing factors to derive a sentence that comports with federal law....

To put this matter in broad perspective, it is obvious that sentencing is the most sensitive, and difficult, task that any judge is called upon to undertake.  Where the Sentencing Guidelines provide reasonable guidance, they are of considerable help to any judge in fashioning a sentence that is fair, just, and reasonable.  But where, as here, the calculations under the guidelines have so run amok that they are patently absurd on their face, a Court is forced to place greater reliance on the more general considerations set forth in section 3553(a), as carefully applied to the particular circumstances of the case and of the human being who will bear the consequences. This the Court has endeavored to do, as reflected in the statements of its reasons set forth at the time of the sentencing and now in this Sentence Memorandum prompted by the dictates of Rattoballi.  Whether those reasons are reasonable will be for others to judge.

July 20, 2006 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

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Not sure if this was already noted, but PACER shows that the government filed a notice of appeal of the sentence on 7/5/06.

Posted by: anon | Jul 21, 2006 11:46:20 AM

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