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September 11, 2006

Seventh Circuit shooting the reasonableness messenger

Just after the Third Circuit's important crack opinion in Gunter was getting me encouraged again about thoughtful circuit opinions, along comes the Seventh Circuit to dash my optimism.  Today in US v. Gonzalez, No. 05-2555 (7th Cir. Sept. 11, 2006) (available here), a panel led by Judge Posner all but accuses two defendants of "wast[ing] their time and ours by filing frivolous appeals" over the reasonableness of a within-guideline sentence.

Never mind that the Supreme Court in Booker said the guidelines are only advisory and suggested that all sentences are to be reviewed for reasonableness; never mind that one defendant in Gonzalez faces incarceration for 23 years on a marijuana dealing offense; never mind that this defendant was subject to a career-offender guideline that the US Sentencing Commission has said is too harsh in some cases; never mind that this defendant apparently rendered substantial assistance and still got a sentence above the guideline minimum; never mind that using adjectives like "frivolous" will surely chill the exercise of appellate rights.  Apparently, the panel in Gonzalez simply thinks that some appeals of within-guideline sentences are just a big waste of time.  Just like jury trials, I suppose....

September 11, 2006 at 07:10 PM | Permalink


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