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August 28, 2006

More examples of guideline-centric circuit work

In recent posts (some of which are linked below), I have complained that circuits have been improperly judging Booker reasonableness in reference to the guidelines, when they should be judging reasonableness in reference to the provisions of 3553(a).  Here are some more examples:

From the Second Circuit: US v. Park, No. 05-6158 (2d Cir. Aug. 25, 2006) (available here), holds that a guideline sentence is not unreasonable when a district court follows the crack guidelines.  The Second Circuit Sentencing Blog reasonably wonders here whether Park suggests that "a crack sentence within the Guidelines is per se reasonable."

From the Fourth Circuit: US v. Curry, No. 05-5090 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 2006) (available here), reverses a below-guideline sentence as unreasonable because, in the panel's opinion, the reasons given by the district court do "not justify so large a variance from the advisory Guidelines range."

From the Fifth Circuit: US v. Guidry, No. 05-30543 (5th Cir. Aug. 23, 2006) (available here), reverses a below-guideline sentence as unreasonable because, in the panel's opinion, the district court's sentence was "based on clearly erroneous factual determinations, puts significant weight on irrelevant factors, and ignores factors that should be given significant weight."

In all three of these cases, we continue to see the guidelines, rather than all the provisions of 3553(a), serving as the touchstone of reasonableness.  As I have explained in some of my posts and writings below, I have a hard time seeing how such a guideline-centric approach to reasonableness comports with Booker.

Recent related posts on reasonableness review:

UPDATE: Late Monday, the Tenth Circuit also issued a guideline-centered reasonableness ruling in US v. Torres-Duenas, No. 06-1062 (10th Cir. Aug. 28, 2006) (available here).

August 28, 2006 at 08:00 PM | Permalink

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