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December 28, 2008

Effective reporting on White acquitted conduct ruling from Sixth Circuit

An nice AP article — which here is headlined "Case with local tie could go to Supreme Court" and here is headlined "Split appeals court upholds bank robbery sentence" — provides an effective review of the Sixth Circuit's work in the White acquitted conduct en banc case (basics here).  Here are some excerpts:

A federal appeals court has upheld a 22-year prison sentence for a convicted bank robber, determining there was enough evidence for nearly tripling the original sentence based on two other charges he was acquitted of in connection with the 2003 crime....

The court's decision in White's case is the latest in the ongoing battle over how federal judges deal with the federal sentencing guidelines and U.S. Supreme Court rulings over what those guidelines mean....

"Hopefully, there's another chapter to be written in this case," said Mark Harris, a New York-based attorney who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on White's behalf. Harris said the current sentencing law "violates our internal sense of right and wrong" when it comes to the law. "It just doesn't seem to consistent with fair play," Harris said. "The basic idea here is you can be acquitted of a crime, but still sentenced as if you committed it."...

The practice of using unproven charges to enhance a sentence is barred by nearly every state, but is permissible in federal courts.... "It's quite frequent that this happens," Harris said. "It's not always as dramatic as it is in this case. It's kind of shocking."

White's attorney, Kevin Schad of Ohio, said the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I believe Americans would be shocked to hear that an acquittal means nothing in the federal system," Schad said....

Harris said the case likely won't end with the 6th Circuit's opinion. "The U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to address this, possibly even with this case," Harris said. But, unless or until it does, White will stay in the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institute in Forrest City, Ark. He's eligible for release in 2021, when he'll be 60-years-old.

I suspect I may help with an amicus in support of cert in this case, and I am hopeful that lots of others will also try to get the Supreme Court to take up an acquitted conduct case sooner rather than later.

Some related posts about the White case and acquitted conduct sentencing enhancements:

December 28, 2008 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Hello, I am a student at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. I am looking for a copy of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky case in which White was convicted. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you!

Posted by: Jaci | Feb 4, 2009 7:32:36 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB