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October 13, 2004

Detwiler not (yet) decisive

With thanks to a reader who sent me the link to this article in the Oregonian, it seems that Judge Panner's dramatic decision in US v. Detwiler (discussed here with commentary here) — which declares the federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional after the passage of the Feeney Amendment "because it violates the separation of powers doctrine" — will not become law of the district in Oregon. Here are some of the important developments detailed in the article:

A federal judge's conclusion that federal sentencing rules are unconstitutional won't be adopted by the rest of the federal bench in Oregon.

U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty, the chief federal judge in Oregon, said Tuesday that the judges made the decision not to adopt U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner's ruling in United States v. Detwiler as the "law of the district." He said lawyers may cite Panner's opinion in sentencing matters, "but each judge will resolve the issues presented on a case-by-case basis."...

Barry Sheldahl, first assistant U.S. attorney for Oregon, said the U.S. attorney's office cannot appeal Panner's ruling until Detwiler is sentenced. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Sheldahl said he expects that the U.S. attorney's office will ask Panner to reconsider his ruling, and if he declines, prosecutors probably will seek an appeal.

October 13, 2004 at 02:38 PM | Permalink


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