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May 10, 2007

Juicy Fourth Circuit discussion of sentencing purposes

As noted by How Appealing here, the Fourth Circuit today in US v. Shortt, No. 06-4774 (4th Cir. May 10, 2007) (available here), has affirmed an above-guideline sentence for a doctor who pleaded guilty to providing anabolic steroids and human growth hormone to NFL players.  The Shortt opinion is long on juiced-up discussion of sentencing factors and the application of 3553(a).  I feel stronger just reading the Shortt opinion, and here are some of my favorite pumped-up passages:

Thus, § 3553(a) serves two functions.  First, it prescribes that every sentence comply with the four announced purposes for sentencing.  Second, it lists seven factors that a court must consider in determining a particular sentence, and included as one of the factors is the list of announced purposes for sentencing in § 3553(a)(2).

A sentence that does not serve the announced purposes of § 3553(a)(2) is unreasonable. Likewise, a sentence that is greater than necessary to serve those purposes is unreasonable....

The proper application of § 3553(a) therefore requires a sentencing court to focus on the four purposes of sentencing, as applicable in a particular case, and to consider, in determining a sentence that achieves those purposes, the seven factors listed in § 3553(a)(1)-(7).  A sentence that fails to fulfill the purposes cannot be saved, even if it is supported by consideration of the six other factors.

In related news, you can watch video of Barry Bonds' 745th career home run at this link.

May 10, 2007 at 04:28 PM | Permalink

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