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March 29, 2009

A pretty good week in the circuits for a few federal defendants

Because I was on the road most of last week, I was unable to effectively keep up with all the circuit sentencing rulings.  But my quick review of the circuit week that was seems to suggest that a few federal defendants did better than usual with sentencing appeals in the circuits.  Specifically, defendants got victories in all these cases:

  • United States v. Recla, No. 07-1252 (6th Cir. March 25, 2009) (available here)
  • United States v. Chase, No. 08-1804 (8th Cir. March 25, 2009) (available here)
  • United States v. Mejia, No. 06-50220 (9th Cir. March 24, 2009) (available here)
  • United States v. Delgadillo, No. 07-5922 (6th Cir. March 24, 2009) (unpublished) (available here)

None of these rulings seem especially ground-breaking, but victories for defendants on sentencing appeals are rare enough to make these cases still noteworthy.  (And, of course, defendants lost a lot more sentencing appeals last week than they won).

March 29, 2009 at 08:16 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I think the Delgadillo ruling is pretty noteworthy, depending upon how one reads it. The opinion does not say whether the district court's sentencing decision was procedurally or substantively unreasonable, and there is indication that it may be a little of both. However, I read it as giving the sentencing judge, on remand, a strong indication that the panel thought that the ~20 year sentence was substantively unreasonable, especially where it directs the court to explain why a sentence higher than the 10 year mandatory minimum is necessary.

If I am reading this correctly, the opinion is noteworthy in that it seems to indicate that the panel believed a sentence at the low end of the guidelines range to be substantively unreasonable. It is also noteworthy in that it follows the practice of designating these sorts of conversational, pro-defendant opinions unpublished.

Posted by: A. Nony. MousA. Nony. Mous. | Mar 30, 2009 10:50:10 AM

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