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August 5, 2006

Another sentencing raising federalism issues

As noted here, my involvement with the panel on Federalism & Sentencing at the upcoming NASC conference (conference details here and here) has me thinking a lot about the overlap and intersection of federal and state sentencing laws and policies.  So, it was with much interest that I read this intriguing article reporting on a federal judge aggrieved (and influenced) by the lack of a state prosecution in a case involving the death of four people in a car crash: 

Seven years after his tractor-trailer jumped a median on Interstate 78 in Berks County and caused a horrific crash that killed four members of a New York family, a Canadian man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to falsifying his daily log book. Immediately after Gulvinder Singh Sandhu entered his plea to 42 counts of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno revoked his bail, concerned that he was a flight risk and angry at how federal and Berks County prosecutors handled the case.

''This is unconscionable,'' Robreno said, questioning how the deaths of four people could result in a guilty plea that, under federal sentencing guidelines, could bring Sandhu a jail term of 12 to 18 months. A state conviction could have resulted in a 20-year sentence, he said. ''He killed four people,'' Robreno said. ''I'm just really perplexed with this case.''

August 5, 2006 at 08:12 AM | Permalink

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