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July 2, 2005

Honoring moms at sentencing

Celebrating this weekend in a patriotic fashion calls for honoring hot dogs, baseball, apple pie and mom.  I am doing my part with baseball and food, and to complete the quartet I can report on a pair of recent decisions that honor moms at sentencing.

From federal court, Wisconsin US District Judge Lynn Adelman continues his noteworthy post-Booker work through his opinion in US v. Greer, No.  03-CR-194 (D. Wisc. June 27, 2005), which can be downloaded below.  (Some of Judge Adelman's other major Booker opinions can be accessed in this post.) In Greer, Judge Adelman was sentencing a pregnant woman who "did not sell cocaine but was the girlfriend, sister and cousin of men who did [and on] several occasions, she helped them in relatively small ways."  Judge Adelman justifies a sentence below the guidelines on numerous grounds in Greer, explaining in one part of his opinion:

If defendant were imprisoned, her two young children would suffer dearly. Defendant's mother had serious medical problems, and defendant's sister was only 20 and a full time student with a part-time job.  The children's father was in prison.  Thus, sending defendant to prison would likely require the children to be placed in foster care. Further, requiring her to give birth in prison, then lose custody of her new born could cause severe damage to both her and the child.

Download adelman_greer_mom_variance.pdf

From state court, this AP story discusses a case in Maryland involving the release of a defendant serving a five-year fraud sentence "who asked to have her prison sentence reduced so she could bond with her infant."  The interesting facets of this story include (1) the state judge justifying a reduced sentence on the ground that the defendant already served the equivalent of the sentencing term she would have received under the federal guidelines, and (2) some of the defendant's supporters were anti-abortion activists who lobbied Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich for leniency.

July 2, 2005 at 06:42 PM | Permalink


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