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January 16, 2007

Lots of circuit sentencing action

I am spending the day trying to wrap up a draft of a cert petition (more on this later in the week), but I keep hearing news of important circuit sentencing rulings. This AP report provides the basics on the decision likely to garner the most attention from folks other than sentencing fanatics:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the sentence of a man who was convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport at the turn of the millennium.  Ahmed Ressam was arrested near the U.S.-Canadian border in December 1999 after customs agents found 124 pounds of explosives in the trunk of his car....

Ressam was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being convicted off all nine charges.  On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed his conviction on one of the charges and sent the case back to a lower court to issue a new sentence and explain the rationale behind the original 22-year term.

As of this writing, the Ninth Circuit's website is down (suspiciously?), so I cannot yet comment on the opinion.  But I can and will note that I have seen Booker rulings of note (that I also haven't yet read) from at least three or four other circuits today.  I guess everyone took advantage of the long weekend to clean-up sentencing opinions.

January 16, 2007 at 03:20 PM | Permalink


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FYI, the Seattle P-I's article about the decision by their "Legal Affairs Writer" has the following interesting quote:

The decision does not necessarily mean Ressam will get a shorter term, as federal prosecutors said the original sentence was too light and judges are given wide latitude to sentence defendants as they see fit.

Really? Wide latitude to sentence defendants as they see fit? I'm guessing that would be news to federal judges out there.

Posted by: txpublicdefender | Jan 16, 2007 3:28:49 PM

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