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February 2, 2010

A "very interesting"(?) sentencing appeal in the Seventh Circuit

I tend to find most sentencing issues that produce published opinion to be at least somewhat interesting.  But this first paragraph of the panel opinion in US v. Christiansen, No. 09-1925 (7th Cir. Feb. 2, 2010) (available here), suggests that the case is much more than just "interesting":

Most sentencing appeals involve long (or at least medium length) prison terms. So, an appeal like the one in this case, involving a short four-month sentence, is fairly uncommon.  And although the four-month sentence was imposed after the district court determined that the advisory guideline range was four to ten months based on two enhancements that are now challenged on appeal, the sentence could have easily still been a four-month term (the range would have been zero to six months) without the two challenged add-ons.  Very interesting.

Readers will have to click through to the full opinion to make their own assessments of whether the Christiansen case deserves to be described as "very interesting."  This one-sentence account of the defendant's crime in the panel opinion does seem to support the extra adverb: "Melissa Christiansen was charged in a 16-count indictment with wire fraud for defrauding several people out of money and property by posing as an expectant mother willing to give her child up for adoption."

February 2, 2010 at 06:35 PM | Permalink


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I think you're missing the point. The court is saying that it is very interesting that the defendant bothered to appeal when the sentence is so short, and that, even if the defendant prevailed, the actual sentence given would still be in the applicable guideline range.

I don't read the opinion as saying that the legal issues themselves are particularly interesting.

Posted by: ziemer | Feb 3, 2010 4:23:36 PM

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