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December 22, 2009

Tenth Circuit affirms (way-below-guideline) probation sentence for sympathetic drug mule

A panel of the Tenth Circuit today in US v. Sayad, No. 08-1366 (10th Cir. Dec. 23, 2009) (available here), affirms a sentence of probation for five years for a first-offender drug mule over the government's complaints of procedural and substantive unreasonableness.  The ruling in Sayad does not really break any significant new jurisprudential ground, but I always think it is notable when a below-guideline sentence of only probation is affirmed over a government appeal.

December 22, 2009 at 03:31 PM | Permalink


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Interesting opinion. I think the court got it right with respect to the Iranian-Christian references. Ties to the community do matter. Now if this guy screws up again, he should have the book thrown at him.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 22, 2009 4:34:49 PM

I think the opinion is interesting in noting the (sometimes) difficult task in assigning an alleged error the label of procedural or substantive.

federalist, I would tend to agree that if he screws up this “second chance,” he needs to be sentenced severely. On that subject, it’s important to note he got 5 years probation, the stat. max. for a probationary sentence.

Posted by: DEJ | Dec 22, 2009 4:48:08 PM

A dog breeder gets in trouble when dogs alert the presence of drugs. Fitting.

The procedural/substantive overlap reminds me of the reference of how the two blend in Stevens' dissent in the DNA case. FWIW, it seems to me that it suggests complaints of "substantive due process" sometimes are overblown.

Anyway, it's an interesting little case -- regular news reports really should from time to time discuss cases like this. They have nice little "stories" and help teach us basic legal principles too.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 23, 2009 8:28:42 AM

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