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November 4, 2006

Media coverage SCOTUS reasonableness grants

For media coverage of the Supreme Court's cert grants in Claiborne and Rita you can choose from this AP story and this New York Times story.  Here is a snippet from Linda Greenhouse's piece, which includes some more details about the cases:

While there was no suggestion in the court’s action on Friday that the Booker decision itself would be reconsidered, there remains much room for debate over how it should be applied.

Each of the appeals was brought to the Supreme Court by a federal public defender’s office. The defendant in the first case, from North Carolina, is a 57-year-old retired marine named Victor A. Rita Jr., who was convicted of making false statements in connection with a federal investigation into the sale of kits for making machine guns. While Mr. Rita’s sentence, 33 months, was within the range provided by the sentencing guidelines, he argued on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the sentence was unreasonably long, given his poor health and unblemished record of federal service, both as a marine and in two civilian agencies....

The defendant in the second case the court accepted on Friday is a 21-year-old first offender, Mario Claiborne, who was convicted in Federal District Court in St. Louis of possessing a small quantity of crack cocaine. Mr. Claiborne’s lawyer persuaded the trial judge to impose a sentence of only 15 months, sharply lower than the guidelines range of 37 to 46 months. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, also in St. Louis, overturned the sentence and ordered resentencing, which has not yet taken place. The Eighth Circuit is among the appeals courts that regard deviations from the guidelines as inherently dubious, requiring special justification.

In complimenting Linda Greenhouse for a terrific article about these new grants, I cannot help but note that about a month ago Linda said when visiting OSU that she doubted that the Supreme Court would take up Booker issues anytime soon.

November 4, 2006 at 09:50 AM | Permalink


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