February 24, 2009
Eleventh Circuit holds erroneous sentencing does not violate a constitutional right
I have long thought that being sentenced to a longer prison term than is legally appopriate would constitute a violation of a constitutionally protected liberty interest. But a short opinion from the Eleventh Circuit today in Hunter v. US, No. 07-13701 (11th Cir. Feb 24, 2009) (available here) suggests otherwise. Here is how Hunter starts:
This appeal presents the issue whether a criminal defendant who was erroneously sentenced has made “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). Demarick Hunter is a federal prisoner serving a sentence of imprisonment of 188 months for being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 924(g). He moved to vacate his sentence, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and the district court denied his motion. Hunter then sought certificate of appealability from this Court, and we denied the application. The Supreme Court vacated our order denying the certificate of appealability and remanded for reconsideration in the light of its decision in Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. __, 128 S. Ct. 1581 (2008), which held that driving under the influence was not a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Because Hunter has failed to make “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right,” we deny his motion for a certificate of appealability.
February 24, 2009 at 03:39 PM | Permalink
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