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July 27, 2005

Interesting district court read (and evidence of post-Booker toughness)

Because I have not received many noteworthy district court opinions lately, I was especially grateful that a reader sent me today Judge Stewart Dalzell's opinion in US v. Schwartz, No. 03-35-1 (E.D. Pa. July 26, 2005) (available for download below). The opinion is perhaps jurisprudentially significant because Judge Dalzell declares a government motion for an upward departure moot after he justifies an above-guideline sentence on Booker grounds.  And the opinion is factually significant because it shows that trial judges are hardly "soft" on fraud in the post-Booker world: Schwartz involved a defendant who is a relatively minor swindler getting a sentence over 20 years.  But what makes the decision most engaging is that it includes references and cites to Santa Claus, St. Augustine, A Clockwork Orange and the recent book "On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt.

Download dalzell_schwartz_opinion.pdf

July 27, 2005 at 05:15 PM | Permalink


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I think this is one of the most finely crafted trial court sentencing opinons I've ever read!

(defense attorney)

Posted by: Steve | Jul 27, 2005 10:01:12 PM

I am perplexed by the characterization of this defendant as "a relatively minor swindler." It seems to me that the imposition of a near-life sentence for this serial recidivist is more than justified in the opinion.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jul 28, 2005 9:00:58 AM

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