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September 5, 2006

Eighth Circuit gets back to work reversing below-guideline sentence

Dog bites man in the Eighth Circuit again today as a split panel reverses a sentence below the guidelines in US v. McDonald, No. 05-1617 (8th Cir. Sept. 5, 2006) (available here).  The new McDonald does not significantly alter an old circuit story (details here), although it does include a bit of sparring between the majority and dissent over the Eighth Circuit's decided tendency to favor the government's position in its reasonableness review.  Here is perhaps the most potent quotable from Judge Bye's dissent in McDonald:

I believe today's decision is symptomatic of the growing pains our courts are experiencing as we move away from a constitutionally infirm system of mandatory sentencing to the advisory system commanded by Booker. If we fail to implement the promise of Booker and do not relinquish greater discretion to experienced district court judges whose proximity to sentencing renders them eminently more qualified to appreciate the subtleties of each case, we will find ourselves the architects of a new and equally unconstitutional de facto mandatory sentencing system crafted from the ashes of the last.

September 5, 2006 at 01:09 PM | Permalink


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