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December 26, 2007

Intriguing Tenth Circuit opinion involving victim impact letter

The Tenth Circuit has an interesting opinion today in US v. Rakes, No. 06-4208 (10th Cir. Dec. 26, 2007) (available here) covering a variety of plea and sentencing issues.  Here is how it begins:

Joe Rakes challenges his conviction and resulting sentence arising from an alleged conspiracy to impede the investigation and prosecution of a white supremacy group, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture.  Specifically, he argues that (1) the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to establish a conspiracy between him and another participant in the alleged scheme; (2) the district court improperly rejected his plea agreement based on an undisclosed victim impact letter; and (3) the district court applied the wrong provision of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) in calculating his sentence.  While none of these arguments is without force, we ultimately conclude that none merits reversal under our governing standards of review.

December 26, 2007 at 10:41 PM | Permalink


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Good for the District Judge. The sentence was well-deserved. A violent gang member threatening a prosecutor is a very serious offense. The government needs to take these things seriously.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 26, 2007 10:51:47 PM

How pissed was the female AUSA after finding out that her office apparently thought threatening her life was worth only 9 months in prison? I wonder if she still works in that office.

I do think 9 months was too low, but 63 months sounds quite high.

Posted by: Confused | Dec 26, 2007 11:19:47 PM

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