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December 27, 2006

Rough holiday week for defendants in the Eighth Circuit

Criminal defendants rarely get presents from the Eighth Circuit, but this holiday week has been especially tough for them.  Over the last two day, the circuit has ruled against defendants in more than a half-dozen cases.  Perhaps the most brutal of the bunch is US v. McMorrow, No. 06-2411 (8th Cir. Dec. 27, 2006) (available here); the panel decision affirms a sentence increased from 140 months to 360 months after a Booker remand for resentencing.

December 27, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink


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From the point of view of a criminologist (read: social scientist), the McMorrow case exposes some ironic failures of our national sentencing policies. The Court found reasonableness, but the reality was some dangerousness and much psychosis, so for the safety of the public and the defendant, 30 years seems rational. But not for culpability, which is what the law of sentencing is for.
In a rational society, there would be civil commitment for him in a non-punitive, secure environment. He should have medication, liberal family visits, and some productive work to do, but he should not go back to Fargo.

Posted by: Mike Israel | Dec 28, 2006 9:42:37 AM

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