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November 7, 2007

Seventh Circuit finds "fairly pernicious scrivener’s error" in presumptively reasonable guidelines

Even a circuit generally eager to praise the reasonableness of the sentencing guidelines cannot always avoid acknowledging their flaws.  Today, for example, the Seventh Circuit vacates a within-guideline sentence in US v. England, No. 06-2381 (7th Cir. Nov. 7, 2007) (available here), although the panel does not declare the imposed sentence unreasonable.  Rather, the sentence is vacated because the district court did not assess possible sentencing disparities resulting from following the guidelines in an quirky case in which "it appears that the Sentencing Guidelines might have a fairly pernicious scrivener’s error."

November 7, 2007 at 02:18 PM | Permalink

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Comments

It's good to see that the circuits are finally beginning to acknowledge rampant FPSE issues in sentencing.

Posted by: jsg | Nov 7, 2007 9:33:01 PM

The result seems right but is 3553 (a)(6) disparity the right reason to remand? It seems like the circuit could have just said that this is an illegal sentence because it does not comport with the statutes passed by Congress. After all, didn't the district court just do what the SG said it should do? I don't see how following a guideline can produce disparty. Again, good result, but laying this one at the feet of 3553(a)(6) doesn't seem right.

Posted by: | Nov 8, 2007 6:19:19 AM

When I was in law school and thereafter, one did not have to be acquainted with calculus. The sentencing world has sure changed that.

This is also the first time I have ever heard of a scrivener's error in a statute. Deed? Yeah. Statute? Never heard it. An error is an error. A 'pernicious' error. Well, that is 'harmful or injurious'. Scrivenor's error is like a typing mistake, only in the old days the scribe was not typing he or she was writing in long hand. So, I guess they are sending this back because there was a fairly harmful or injurious word processing mistake by Congress...
Doug are you making this one up?

Posted by: M. P. Bastian | Nov 8, 2007 5:24:49 PM

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