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April 5, 2005

A lot of late day Booker circuit action

Just when I thought I was out from covering all the circuit Booker action, they pull me back in.  Late today, the First and Eleventh Circuits ordered remands on Booker grounds.  Neither case is earth-shattering, but both are interesting.

From the First Circuit, we get US v. Cruzado-Laureano, No. 02-2658 (1st Cir. Apr. 5, 2005) (available here), in which the Court remands because the PSR and the district court relied on the wrong edition of the guidelines.  The Court's explanation for its decision to remand includes this assertion:

[Booker] injects even more uncertainty into an attempt by us to reconstruct a sentencing decision by the district court under the 2002 guidelines. Therefore, we conclude that the most prudent course is to vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing under the correct edition of the guidelines.

From the Eleventh Circuit, we get US v. Paz, No.  04-14892 (11th Cir. Apr. 5, 2005) (available here), in which the circuit has its "first opportunity, after United States v. Booker, ... to address the application of harmless error to a sentence imposed using extra-verdict enhancements in a mandatory guideline system."  The defendant in Paz had preserved his Blakely/Booker claim and the sentencing judge said expressly he would have given a lower sentence if the guidelines were not binding.  On these facts, the Eleventh Circuit easily concludes that the "error committed in sentencing Paz was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.  On the contrary, it is evident from the sentencing transcript that, had the district court used the guidelines in an advisory fashion, Paz’s sentence would have been shorter."

April 5, 2005 at 10:43 PM | Permalink


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It would have been interesting to see how Judge Carnes of the 11th Circuit would have tried to wiggle out of remanding this case.

Posted by: mike | Apr 5, 2005 11:29:42 PM

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