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January 14, 2008

Sixth Circuit continues taking reasonableness review seriously

For many reasons, including the fact that the case has been bouncing around the federal courts for more than 5 years, the Sixth Circuit might have been inclined to summarily approve the within-guideline sentence at issue in US v. Peters, No. 05-6101 (6th Cir. Jan. 14, 2008) (available here).  Instead, in a brief published opinion, the Peters panel remands for another resentencing because "the District Court did not address the defendant's 'time-served' argument or the mitigating factors indicating that a 'time-served' sentence would satisfy the so-called 'parsimony provision' of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)."  Peters thus serves as another reminder that district courts, at least in the Sixth Circuit, need to make sure they always show their sentencing work after Booker.

January 14, 2008 at 04:06 PM | Permalink


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Judge Merritt won the "remand for guidelineitis" argument this time... interesting.

Posted by: | Jan 14, 2008 4:20:22 PM

Great opinion. I truly hope that other Circuits follow suit and begin to recognize Rita's language, quoted in this opinion, that when a party “presents nonfrivolous reasons for imposing a different sentence,” a sentencing judge should address the arguments and “explain why he has rejected those arguments.”

If a judge does not explain his reasons for rejecting a variance request, the appeals court has no way of knowing whether the sentencing procedure complied with Booker, Gall, and Kimbrough.

Posted by: DEJ | Jan 14, 2008 7:00:03 PM

Will they send this to the same judge or a different one? Could he ask for a different one?

Posted by: | Jan 14, 2008 11:55:25 PM

Let me ask a question: where a district judge has just denied a Guidelines-based request for reducing a sentence (e.g., no extra point off for acceptance), does a District Court really have to separately explain that it is also rejecting the defendant's request for a Booker variance premised on the same underlying reasons (i.e., to account for the lost acceptance point)?

Posted by: Da Man | Jan 15, 2008 9:42:43 AM

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