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November 8, 2006

Fanfan's guideline sentence affirmed by First Circuit

Ducan Fanfan is not quite a name that will live in Supreme Court history, but sentencing fan(fan)s surely recall that his case was the companion to the Booker case that brought down the mandatory federal guidelines.  Of course, the remedy selected by SCOTUS in Booker was not all that Fanfan might have hoped(hoped): the magical advisory guideline remedy enabled the district court to change Fanfan's initial sentence of 78 months to a new sentence of 210 months' imprisonment.

Today, in US v. Fanfan, No. 05-1826 (1st Cir. Nov. 8, 2006) (available here), the First Circuit affirms the 210-month within-guideline sentence.  Notably, most of the arguments on appeal are mostly about guideline calculations and legal issues.  It appears that Fanfan did not on appeal effectively attack the reasonableness of his long sentence in light of the 3553(a) factors.  The Fanfan decision at one point says simply "Fanfan makes no showing that the outcome was unreasonable," and finishes with this notable (and questionable) assertion:

That the new sentence is much longer than the old proves nothing; the old one was constrained by a view of sentencing law from which the Supreme Court has retreated.  That the sentence is quite long is a result of determinations made by Congress, which we are not free to ignore.

I suspect that Fanfan may appeal again to the Supreme Court, and I also suspect that the Court might GVR this case once it resolves its new Claiborne and Rita cases on the dynamics of Booker appellate review.  Put another way, the case of Fanfan likely is still not yet completely done(done).

November 8, 2006 at 06:02 PM | Permalink


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