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June 1, 2007

A double dose of Booker highlights

As mentioned quickly here, two remarkable sentencing decisions were a key part of a remarkable federal sentencing day.  Here are some highlights:

From Judge McConnell, writing for the Tenth Circuit in the remarkable Allen case:

This case presents precisely the scenario the Blakely Court labeled as too "absurd" to contemplate: that a judge could sentence a man for attempted sexual abuse or solicitation of murder, even though he was convicted only of distribution of methamphetamine.  We do not believe that the Court's remedial decision in Booker departs so dramatically from the Court's interpretation of the Sixth Amendment in Blakely that what was absurd in Blakely is now a reasonable practice after Booker.

From Judge Merritt, writing in dissent from a split Sixth Circuit reasonableness ruling:

The Guidelines violate ยง 3553 by forbidding consideration of addiction and most other significant mitigators.... Therefore, in a case like this, the Guidelines are not a reliable or even a rational guide to sentencing.  If the federal judiciary is to impose just sentences after Booker, it must extricate itself from the prevailing mind set under the Guidelines that includes almost all conceivable enhancements and aggravators while excluding from consideration almost all significant mitigating circumstances.

And, not to be overlooked, King James produced lots of highlights tonight in the Motor City: as the AP put it, "LeBron James used one of the most spectacular performances in playoff history to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to the verge of their greatest season."

June 1, 2007 at 12:53 AM | Permalink


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Judge Merritt's dissent illustrates exactly why the Guidelines were necessary in the first place. The extent to which addiction is mitigating is very much a matter of opinion that varies widely from judge to judge. Judge Merritt apparently considers it close to a complete excuse in this case. The district judge's choice of the top of the range implies that he thought it had little mitigating value.

Sentence should depend on what the defendant did and what he has done before, not which judge he draws.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jun 1, 2007 8:58:04 AM

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