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April 25, 2007

More on Fifth Circuit reversal in human smuggling case

As noted in this prior post, last week the Fifth Circuit reversed a below-guideline sentence in US v. Sanchez, No. 06-20193(5th Cir. Apr. 17, 2007) (available here), a high-profile alien smuggling case.  Today the Houston Chronicle has this extended story about the ruling.  Here is a snippet:

In its latest ruling last week, a three-judge panel of the appeals court decided that Gonzalez Sanchez's sentence was calculated incorrectly.  Remanding the case to Gilmore for resentencing, the judges said federal guidelines call for a prison term of 57 to 71 months.

That means that Gonzalez Sanchez, 46, could spend at least two more years behind bars. For now, she remains on three years' supervised release, her attorney, Wendell Odom Jr., said Tuesday.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the guidelines are not mandatory, each circuit has taken its own approach on judges' options.  The high court also has some cases pending on judicial discretion in federal sentencing.

Odom said the 5th Circuit takes a conservative view of the issue.  "It is not a great surprise to me to see the opinion come down the way it did," said Odom, who is preparing an appeal of Gonzalez Sanchez's case to the Supreme Court.

April 25, 2007 at 07:18 AM | Permalink

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