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February 4, 2005

More amazing post-Booker work by Judge Adelman

While in Milwaukee (which I am calling Booker ground zero), I received a copy of Judge Lynn Adelman's latest sentencing opinion in which he applies his Ranum methodology in an immigration case.  (Background on Ranum can be found here, commentary here and here.)  Judge Adelman's work in US v. Galvez-Barrios, No. 04-CR-14 (D. Wisc. Feb. 2, 2005), which can be downloaded below, is another absolute must-read on this Friday morning.

Galvez-Barrios breaks new post-Booker ground through its thoughtful discussion of immigration sentencing and "fast-track" realities.  It is also, in my view, an example of post-Booker judging at its finest (though I must admit my view may be influenced by the fact that Galvez-Barrios cites six different articles from my Federal Sentencing Reporter).

Like Judge Kopf's Wanning opinion (discussed here), Judge Adelman's work in Galvez-Barrios must be read in full to be fully appreciated.  But here is a sample:

As Booker directs, in determining defendant's sentence I gave serious consideration to the advisory guidelines.  In the present case, I determined that: (1) the manner in which the guidelines calculated defendant's offense level was flawed; and (2) nevertheless, with modifications to account for the flaws, the guidelines helped translate my findings under 3553(a) into a numerical sentence....

In imposing sentence in the present case, I was also troubled by the unwarranted sentencing disparity under the guidelines for [immigration] offenders.  The disparity occurs because certain judicial districts utilize so-called "fast-track programs" in [these] cases.  Through charge bargaining or stipulated departures, these programs allow [an immigration] offender who agrees to a quick guilty plea and uncontested removal to receive a reduced sentence....

Although fast-track programs may be useful in helping busy border districts process more defendants, they nevertheless create serious sentencing disparities....  As one judge put it, "it is difficult to imagine a sentencing disparity less warranted than one which depends upon the accident of the judicial district in which the defendant happens to be arrested."  Therefore, under Booker and 3553(a)(6). it may be appropriate in some cases for courts to exercise their discretion to minimize the sentencing disparity that fast-track programs create."

Download adelman_galvezbarrios_sent_memo.pdf

February 4, 2005 at 06:28 AM | Permalink


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Wow! Interesting application of Booker and use of adjustments. I wish we saw more written sentencing opinions out of Texas Courts. Although Galvez-Barrios had some aggravating factors with his past criminal history and thus his punishment seems reasonable, these immigratition cases can be heartbreaking. I have seen many immigration sentencings out of South and West Texas that seemed unduely harsh. Especially so when the only crimes that were committed were immigration related with no other criminal history. I know, I know, illegal entry is a crime....

Posted by: johnfloyd | Feb 4, 2005 10:08:01 AM

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