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January 29, 2007

Another extreme mandatory sentence ... Update: is Wolf Blitzer next?

I am still trying to make sense of the extreme mandatory minimum punishments and prosecutorial choices in the Genarlow Wilson (background here and here) and border agent cases (background here and here).  But now, thanks to this post at How Appealing, I now see another example of an extreme mandatory minimum punishment.

In this case, as detailed by Judge Richard Clifton in this concurring opinion, at issue are "mandatory sentences of life imprisonment [for] young people, aged 25 and 21 at the time of conviction" as a consequence of a "terrible death of the victim here was an unintended consequence of the defendants' act of burning down a house they viewed as theirs, in order to end a long-running family disagreement."  Notably, Judge Clifton (an appointee of President George W. Bush), calls for the exercise of executive clemency at the end of his concurrence:

The President has the power to temper justice with mercy. I hope that the Executive Branch revisits this case and, if the facts truly are as they have been made to appear to us, will consider letting the defendants go after a more appropriate term of incarceration.

UPDATE:  Turning back to the Wilson case, a commentor wonder if CNN, which apparently has a copy of the videotape showing minors engaging in a sex act, might be guilty of posessing child pornography.

January 29, 2007 at 04:28 PM | Permalink


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It would be good if someone could post a link to the majority opinions. I couldn't find them on the CA9 website or on PACER. I'm curious about what the statute was, what the facts of the case were, and how life in prison was required with the mens rea evident from Judge Clifton's concurring opinion.

Posted by: | Jan 29, 2007 5:44:04 PM

About the WILSON case I was wondering if he could have faced any charges for the manufacture of child pornography? As I understand the story he videotaped consenual sex between himself (17 years old) and a 15 year old girl. Isn't it a crime to videotape minors engaging in a sex act? Furthermore, if CNN has a copy of the tape aren't they guilty of posessing child pornography.

Posted by: Mike Hadley | Jan 29, 2007 5:54:47 PM

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