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March 24, 2008

Big SCOTUS sentencing week, starting with Burgess argument

As detailed in SCOTUSblog posts here and here, an exciting sentencing week for the Justices gets off to a flying start with argument this morning in Burgess over the on what qualifies as a "felony drug offense" for federal sentencing purposes.   Burgess provides the Supreme Court with a great setting to discuss the application of the "rule of lenity" in the interpretation of federal sentencing statutes (with sentencing guru Jeff Fisher arguing for the defendant). SCOTUSwiki has more on Burgess here (including links to briefs).

In addition to Burgess, this week also brings oral argument in Ressam concerning whether the federal law mandating 10 years in prison for carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony requires the explosives to be carried "in relation to" the underlying felony.  I think sentencing guru  AG Michael Mukasey is supposed to argue this matter for the government.

Further, new briefs will be filed this week in Irizarry, the post-Booker Rule 32(h) case.  I will discuss this case more in future posts.  And, we are due to get an order list this morning and will likely see some opinions handed down by the Justices later this week.  I am hopeful that there will be some sentencing action in both the order list and in released opinions. 

In short, SCOTUS sentencing fans should be sure to stay tuned to SL&P all week!

March 24, 2008 at 08:06 AM | Permalink


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