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December 28, 2006

Another ugly day in the Eighth Circuit for defendants

The Eighth Circuit continues to play bad Santa; with new opinions today, the circuit has now ruled against criminal defendants in nearly a dozen cases this holiday week.  Two sentencing rulings today are especially telling:

  • in US v. Left Hand Bull, No. 06-2133 (8th Cir. Dec. 28, 2006) (available here), a panel readily approves an upward departure that nearly doubles the defendant's sentence by finding a guideline mistake by the district court to be "a harmless error."
  • in US v. Plaza, No. 06-1762 (8th Cir. Dec. 28, 2006) (available here), a different panel vacates a below-guideline sentence because the "district court failed to follow the proper sentencing procedure."  Why this failing should not be deemed "a harmless error" is not at all clear.

December 28, 2006 at 01:26 PM | Permalink


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Plaza's sentence could not be deemed harmless error because a serious felon (albeit one who seemed to wise up) got a very unserious sentence. Meth is bad news. People involved in serious distrubition of it need to get more than 1 year in jail.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 29, 2006 12:04:44 AM

By your silence on Left Hand Bull are we to take it that you think a mistake resulting in a harsher sentence is always harmless? Can you begin to see why nobody takes you seriously here?

Posted by: | Dec 29, 2006 6:51:49 AM

I don't think you can take silence to mean anything.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 29, 2006 12:03:25 PM

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