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November 5, 2007

Lots of sentencing stuff from the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit today has two lengthy opinions covering important sentencing issues.  Here are the basics taken from the opening paragraphs of each opinion:

US v. Gonzales, No. 04-30007 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2007) (en banc) (available here):

In United States v. Williams, 291 F.3d 1180, 1195 (9th Cir. 2002), we held that a totally suspended six-month sentence for criminal mischief counted as a “prior sentence,” mandating an additional point on the defendant’s criminal history score; however, in United States v. Hernandez-Hernandez, 431 F.3d 1212, 1220 (9th Cir. 2005), we also held that a partially suspended three-month misdemeanor sentence resulting in three days of imprisonment did not count as a “prior sentence,” and thus did not increase the defendant’s criminal history score.  We agree with both the government and Gonzales that our analysis in Williams was flawed by its failure to read the relevant Guidelines sections as a whole.  We hold that the language “term of imprisonment” in § 4A1.2(c)(1) refers only to certain non-felony sentences for which the defendant actually served a period of imprisonment.  Therefore, we overrule Williams, clarify Hernandez-Hernandez, vacate Gonzales’s sentence and remand for resentencing.

US v. Cope, No. 06-50441 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2007) (available here):

In this appeal we consider, among other matters, whether the district court’s imposition of a lifetime of supervised release was reasonable and whether the district court was required to articulate findings before imposing certain special conditions of supervised release pertaining to medication.  Under the circumstances presented by this case, we conclude that the term of supervised release imposed was reasonable, but that the district court should have articulated findings before imposing special conditions of release that would implicate a particularly significant liberty interest of the defendant.  Therefore, we affirm in part, vacate the sentence in part, and remand for further proceedings.

November 5, 2007 at 02:09 PM | Permalink


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