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January 22, 2008

Media coverage of Padilla sentencing

How Appealing collects all the major media coverage of today's sentencing of Jose Padilla, and I cannot help but notice this notable boo-boo in the New York Times piece:

Ms. Padilla called the government’s case “insane” and said she was not surprised by Judge Cooke’s decision to department from federal sentencing guidelines and give her son more lenient sentence.

I think "department" is supposed to be "depart" in this news account.  Moreover, based on the media coverage, it actually is not clear whether Judge Cooke technically "departed" or "varied" from the 30-life guideline range in order to impose a sentence of  208 months. 

Intriguingly, this Miami Herald piece reports that "Federal prosecutors said they would appeal the judge's decision on sentencing for the defendants."  As I suggested in this prior post, Gall and Kimbrough plainly make it harder for the government to prevailing on a claim that the sentence here is unreasonable.  But the Justice Department may think the message sent by appealing is more important than whether it ultimately prevails in the Eleventh Circuit.

January 22, 2008 at 03:56 PM | Permalink


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It is delicious and precious to find an error in The Grey Lady.

Posted by: beth curtis | Jan 22, 2008 8:59:49 PM

Grr, every account I've seen or heard today says he got "more than 17 years." Silly me, I'm thinking (and sometimes saying to the radio), "What? 17 1/2 years? 50 years? Life?" OK, so I found out it was something like 17 years, 4 months. Why don't they just say so?

In the alternative, I could get a life!

Posted by: Anne | Jan 22, 2008 11:03:09 PM

I'm curious, Professor Berman, how you will be able to tell if the Padilla sentence is a "departure" or a "variance", and what the implications of that distinction might be?

If the sentence is based, at least partly, on factors not mentioned in the guidelines, will that automatically make it a variance? Or might those be unmentioned factors that could have qualified the case as a departure under 5K2.0(a)(2)(B)?

If the judge labels the sentence a "variance" does that make it so, or might it be a sentence that could or would have been labeled a "departure" prior to Booker? We know from the data that many cases that were once called departures are now called variances.

Most of all, what difference does it all make?

Posted by: Paul Hofer | Jan 23, 2008 2:13:08 PM

Anybody know what the final Guideline calculations were? I haven't seen them discussed anywhere.

Posted by: JDB | Jan 23, 2008 2:19:46 PM

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