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April 6, 2005

8th Circuit on alternative sentence and reasonableness

It's a busy Booker day in the Circuits, as I have already noted interesting rulings from the Fifth and Sixth Circuits and I have also seen, but not yet had a chance to post about, noteworthy decisions from the Second, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits.  But this post is about the Eighth Circuit and its decision in US v. Thompson, No. 04-2759 (8th Cir. Apr. 6, 2006) (available here), where the court affirmed a sentence in a felon-in-possession case by relying heavily on the district court's post-Blakely announcement of an alternative sentence identical to the 46-month guideline sentence imposed. 

Similar to the Fourth Circuit's recent alternative sentence affirmances noted here and here, the Thompson court concludes that the identical alternative sentence renders any error in applying mandatory guidelines harmless.  In contrast to the Fourth Circuit, the Eighth Circuit in Thompson goes on to consider whether the sentence is reasonable.  Here is the sum total of that enlightening discussion:

Booker directs that we review Thompson's sentence for unreasonableness, judging it with regard to the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)Booker, 125 S. Ct. at 765–766.  Having reviewed the record and the factors in § 3553(a), we conclude that Thompson's 46-month sentence is reasonable.

April 6, 2005 at 05:29 PM | Permalink


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