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July 13, 2007

Another high-profile case for acquitted conduct sentencing enhancement

As noted here at the WSJ Law Blog, another high-profile defendant has to now start worrying about federal sentencing law and procedure:

According to the AP [story here], the jury in the Conrad Black trial has found the fallen media baron guilty on four of the 13 charges brought against him.  He was convicted on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, but the jury acquitted him of wire fraud, racketeering and several other counts.

Of course, as regular readers know so well, the fact that Lord Black was acquitted on the majority of charges does not mean he won't get sentenced on these matters anyway.  As detailed in so many of my posts (some of which are linked below), federal defendants can and often do get sentence enhancements based on charges that resulted in a jury acquittal.

Some acquitted conduct sentencing posts:

July 13, 2007 at 01:39 PM | Permalink


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» Blawg Review #117 from Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer
Welcome to Blawg Review Number 117: the Bill of Rights/Criminal Law Edition.Approximately 5% of previous Blawg Review hosts have blogs related to criminal law, and not all of them practice and/or blog exclusively about criminal defense: Appellate Law &... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 16, 2007 1:12:04 AM

» Criminilizing Agency Costs - The Conrad Black Saga from PointOfLaw Forum
The Conrad Black convictions have provided ample fodder for the press up here in Canada. After all, Lord Black is our native son who gave up his citizenship to take a seat in the British House of Lords. But apart... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 17, 2007 5:13:45 PM


What exaclty is your position on "acquitted conduct?" Are you saying a judge should never consider such conduct? For example, in the case of a conviction where a defendant faces a "statutory" maximum of 40 years, say, for a drug trafficking conviction on one count, but acquitted on another, with a mandatory minimum of 5 years, and the guidelines call for a range or 70 - 87 months, what's stopping a judge from sentencing the defendant to forty years simply b/c he hates drug dealers and believes the statutory maximum is appropriate? Could he do this and ignore the acquitted count? If a defendant can't be sentenced to the statutory max b/c the sentence is subjectively unreasonable, what's the use in even having a statutory max?

Posted by: rls | Jul 13, 2007 4:16:24 PM

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