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March 15, 2008

Ninth Circuit (unpublished) reversal for procedural unreasonableness

This Los Angeles Times article provides the full story of this unpublished Ninth Circuit ruling, which reverses a below-guideline sentence.  Here are details from the LA Times article:

Citing procedural error, a federal appeals panel has overturned the controversial sentence U.S. District Judge Manuel Real imposed on an admitted con man who bilked scores of people out of millions of dollars by offering investments in a sham TV series about the Department of Homeland Security.... Joseph Medawar, who was sentenced in December 2006 to serve a year and a day in prison, could face more time in custody.

Medawar, a onetime Hollywood producer, avoided trial by pleading guilty to income tax evasion and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of 57 months; even Medawar's trial attorney requested 33 months.  But when Medawar, 46, appeared for sentencing, the judge imposed his own, much shorter term.  Though Medawar was also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution and to perform 3,000 hours of community service, his prison sentence outraged victims of the fraud.

Ruling this week on an appeal filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, the 9th Circuit panel concluded that Real erred by not calculating Medawar's term under federal sentencing guidelines and by failing to consider other sentencing factors established under federal law. Moreover, the panel said, Real did not provide a "significant justification" for imposing a sentence far below the range of 57 to 71 months set under the guidelines.

March 15, 2008 at 09:00 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Given Judge Real's track record, one has to wonder whether the con man was represented by a "comely female" attorney. . . .

Posted by: Da Man | Mar 15, 2008 12:05:27 PM

Real is an embarrassment to the bench. He ought not hear another case.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 16, 2008 1:54:36 AM

Putting the man in prison at all is an injustice to society. He needs to pay the restitution, do community service and continue to be a tax paying citizen of the US. Putting non-violent offenders in prison does absolutely nothing to rehabilitate them and deprives the crime victims from collecting restitution that may be ordered by the court. History has shown, to the point of boredom, that the treat of prison does not deter anyone from committing crimes. Criminals either think that they will not be caught or, in the case of thugs, they just don't think. Either way, federal prison camps are warehouses of boredom and waste; they accomplish absolutely nothing except to put money into the hands of the private prison owners. Let's stop this insanity.

Posted by: Bubkis | Mar 16, 2008 12:16:22 PM

Real is a bit of a clown, but I would gander to say that his biggest problem is not being able to hide his hijinx and personal preferences behind normal-sounding legal rhetoric.

And, if someone is going to be the first one reversed in the new frontier of Gall, it is probably much easier to do it with Real than any other judge.

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 17, 2008 12:11:26 PM

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