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January 12, 2010

Eighth Circuit reverses above-guideline sentence for embezzing police officer

The Eighth Circuit has an interesting little sentencing ruling today in US v. Molnar, No. 09-1326 (8th Cir. Jan. 12, 2010) (available here).  The simple fact that the Eighth Circuit reversed a sentence on a defendant's appeal is itself noteworthy, and the facts of the case add to the intrigue. 

In Molnar, the defendant was a police officer who pleaded guilty to embezzlement of seized drug money. Though his calculated guideline range was ten to sixteen months, the district court varied upward and sentenced Molnar to sixty-months' imprisonment.  The Eighth Circuit find a "procedural" error in one of the factors that the district court used to justify the above-guideline sentence, but the panel decision also indirectly suggests that the appeals court was troubled that this defendant was sentenced so severely for what seems to be a relatively minor crime.

January 12, 2010 at 06:31 PM | Permalink

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