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December 4, 2006

Notable crack sentencing comments from Sixth Circuit

At the end of a long opinion dealing with lots of issues, the Sixth Circuit today in US v. Caver, No. 05-3295 (6th Cir. Dec. 4, 2006) (available here), has this interesting discussion of crack sentencing after Booker in the course of rejecting a defendant's argument that his within-guideline sentence is unreasonable:

Defendant Cloud points to nothing about the particular facts of his case that make his sentence unreasonable; rather, he argues that, post-Booker, the 100:1 ratio is per se unreasonable.  We disagree. Defendant Cloud, in effect, asks this court to not find his sentence unreasonable, as we are authorized to do by Booker, 543 U.S. at 261, but rather to declare a portion of the Sentencing Guidelines unreasonable under all circumstances. Were we to act upon Defendant Cloud’s suggestion, we would essentially be exercising legislative power. Booker does not authorize this. Thus, while a departure from the 100:1 ratio may well be reasonable in a particular case, applying the ratio does not, ipso facto, make a sentence unreasonable under existing case law.  This is so even though we as a panel might disagree with the 100:1 ratio or the rationale for it. Because Defendant Cloud has not demonstrated that the 100:1 ratio was unreasonable in his case, his challenge to his sentence on this ground must fail.

December 4, 2006 at 09:49 AM | Permalink

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