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March 31, 2009

Interesting pair of thoughtful sentencing rulings from the Seventh Circuit

As I continue to catch up on notable circuit rulings from last week when I was on the road, I came across two notable sentencing decisions from the Seventh Circuit.  Though covering quite different topics, both of these opinions merit attention and review because of the thoughtful engagement with defense arguments (even though the defendants wind up on the short end of the appeals):

  • In US v. Nagel, No. 08-2535 (7th Cir. March 24, 2009) (available here), the panel rejects a federal sex offender's intriguing claim that his "mandatory minimum sentence violates the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution because it is not subject to a 'safety valve' allowing for a sentence below the mandatory minimum term."

  • In US v. Abbas, No. 07-3866 (7th Cir. March 26, 2009) (available here), the panel agrees with a defendant's claim of guideline sentencing error, but then goes on affirm the defendant's sentencing on the theory that the error was harmless.  Along the way, the panel effectively explores whether and when reasonableness review under Gall allows for harmless error analysis.

March 31, 2009 at 10:28 AM | Permalink


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