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April 24, 2007

The benefits of a (criminal history) vacation

180pxgogosvacation Vacation
All I ever wanted
Convictions go away
Want this one to go alone

It was hard for me to keep one of my favorite songs from the 1980s out of my head when I read a particular recent federal district court sentencing decision kindly sent my way by a reader.  The decision is US v. Marsh, No. 05-40025 (D. Mass Apr. 16, 2007) (available here), and the "principal issues at sentencing arise out of the fact that defendant Matthew Marsh successfully moved after his plea of guilty to vacate two state convictions that would have otherwise qualified him as a career offender."  Here is the background that puts a new twist on the impact of criminal history (and its erasure):

Defendant pleaded guilty in this case in October 2006.  He then moved in state court to vacate two prior convictions for resisting arrest.  Those convictions would have qualified as "crimes of violence" under the career offender guidelines, U.S.S.G. ยง 4B1.1, and would have dramatically raised his guideline sentencing range, from 120 months to 262 to 327 months.

The claimed basis for the motions to vacate the convictions was that defendant was not mentally competent at the time of the pleas of guilty in 2000 and 2004.  Defendant contends (and the government does not dispute) that he suffers from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that his condition was not being treated at the time with medication.  Defendant also forthrightly, if inaccurately, advised the state court that if his motions to vacate were not granted, he would be facing "30 to life" in federal court. The state court granted the motions nine days before the scheduled sentencing.

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April 24, 2007 at 05:03 PM | Permalink


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Now I've got that song stuck in my head, too. Dang you, D. Mass.!

Posted by: Osler | Apr 24, 2007 6:32:51 PM

I got this one suck in my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH_xdUBXW2M

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 24, 2007 7:48:28 PM

yes i have heard from the ebuzz about this article.Please let me know the updates.

Posted by: Term Papers | Jan 6, 2010 5:03:55 AM

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