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June 20, 2008

Seventh Circuit reverses sentence for procedural unreasonableness

At the end of a long opinion rejecting various trial complains, the Seventh Circuit reverses a within-guideline sentence as procedurally unreasonable in US v. Carter, No. 06-2412 (7th Cir. June 20, 2008) (available here).  In Carter, the district court seemed afraid to use public service as a basis for going outside the guidelines.  Here is a key sentence from a key portion of the panel's ruling explaining the error of the district court's undue affinity for the guidelines:

The district court in this case appeared to place too much weight on the Guidelines.  The Guidelines are but one factor among those listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), and regardless of whether courts have previously recognized public service as a ground for departure from the Guidelines, sentencing courts are charged with considering as part of the § 3553(a) factors “the history and characteristics of the defendant,” which would include a defendant’s public service.

June 20, 2008 at 05:44 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Very rare indeed to have withing guideline sentence reversed. An excellent opinion--affirming that the sentencing judge must weigh the good in a man's life along with the bad.

Posted by: Michael Levine | Jun 20, 2008 11:15:54 PM

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