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April 20, 2007

Thoughtful DC Circuit opinion on Booker et al.

Published sentencing decisions from the DC Circuit are relatively rare and are usually quite thoughtful.  Today's opinion US v. Bras, No. 05-3190 (DC Cir. Apr. 20, 2007) (available here), holds up the Circuit's Booker traditions. Here is how it begins:

Antonio C. Bras pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and highway project fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, an offense for which the statutory maximum is five years in prison. He was sentenced to 37 months’ incarceration under the regime announced in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). The validity of that sentence is the only issue on appeal.

Bras raises four challenges to his sentence.  First, he contends that the district court sentenced him in violation of Booker principles, because it increased his sentence based on facts found by the court itself, using a preponderance of the evidence standard.  Second, Bras maintains that the court violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him, by increasing his sentence based upon testimonial evidence that was not subject to cross-examination.  Third, he argues that the court used unreliable evidence to calculate the loss that his crime caused the government, and thereby erred in calculating his advisory Sentencing Guidelines range. Finally, Bras claims that his sentence was unreasonable, because the district court failed to adequately consider the relevant statutory sentencing factors. Finding these challenges to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

April 20, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink


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