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September 5, 2006

Two government wins of note from the Eleventh Circuit

Surprise, surprise, the government wins two more sentencing appeals in the Eleventh Circuit today.  But both prosecutorial wins are interesting for different reasons.

In US v. Bonilla, No. 05-16857 (11th Cir. Sept. 5, 2006) (available here), the circuit affirms as reasonable a post-Booker within-guideline sentence even though, during an initial sentencing during the Blakely-Booker interregnum, the district judge had suggested an alternative below-guideline sentence if the guidelines were no longer mandatory.  In a footnote, the Bonilla court says that the "fact that the district court suggested a [below-guideline] sentence as an alternative at the first sentencing hearing is irrelevant."

In US v. Gupta, No. 04-16091 (11th Cir. Sept. 5, 2006) (available here), the circuit reverses a pre-Booker sentence based on guideline calculation errors.  Notably, the Gupta opinion, though running 39 pages, never even mentions Booker or whether the sentence imposed might still be reasonable despite the errors.  The facts of Gupta strongly suggests the district court is unlikely to impose a higher sentence now that the guidelines are merey advisory, but the court never examines this reality.

September 5, 2006 at 04:45 PM | Permalink


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