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January 23, 2005

Sunday morning Booker commentary and anecdotes

The Sunday newspapers bring another wave of praise for Booker in editorials and a bit more news about the look of the post-Booker sentencing world through stories on particular cases. 

The pro-Booker editorials and commentaries today come from the Washington Times, the Maine Press Herald, and the Times-Herald-Record.  I have documented previously here and here and here the numerous publications that have praised the outcome, if not the logic, of the Booker decision.

Also in the papers are anecdotes on federal sentencings from Maine and Tennessee.  The Maine case, detailed in this story, had US District Judge D. Brock Hornby sentencing a mentally impaired defendant below the guidelines because Judge Hornby "ruled that a prison sentence would disrupt Jones' treatment and not serve any good."  The Tennessee case, detailed in this story, indicates that Booker lead to a plea deal for a heroin dealer which resulted in little change from the recommended guideline sentence because a mandatory minimum provision required at least a 10-year sentencing term.

Last but not least, there is this interesting article from Illinois which provides a nice overview of Booker while highlighting the decision may not significantly impact Illinois state sentencing "because the Apprendi ruling had already boosted a jury's role in determining facts that could lengthen a defendant's punishment" under state law.  As the article explains, sentencing in Illinois has already been Apprendi-ized: "Jurors in Illinois circuit courts now rule on factors that extend sentences beyond normal maximums."

The Illinois article on state sentencing also includes an important and revealing comment about the connections between state and federal sentencing laws and practice.  The article notes that a state prosecutor "said the Supreme Court's action [in Booker] could impact whether McLean County prosecutors continue to forward cases to federal prosecutors in hopes of seeing defendants receive harsher punishment than they would in state court."

January 23, 2005 at 06:06 AM | Permalink


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