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March 5, 2008

Eighth Circuit affirms large above-guideline sentence

The Eighth Circuit today in US v. Austad, No. 07-1376 (8th Cir. Mar. 5, 2008) (available here), affirms an above-guideline sentence with heavy reliance on Gall.  Here is the start and end:

Christopher Austad (Austad) pled guilty to mailing threatening communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(c).  After calculating a sentencing Guidelines range of 37 to 46 months imprisonment, the district court sentenced Austad to 84 months imprisonment.  Austad appeals, arguing the sentence is unreasonable, and that the district court failed to consider Austad’s history and circumstances. We affirm....

As the Supreme Court reminds us [in Gall], “[t]he sentencing judge is in a superior position to find facts and judge their import under § 3553(a) in the individual case.  The judge sees and hears the evidence, makes credibility determinations, has full knowledge of the facts and gains insights not conveyed by the record.” id. (citation omitted).  Given these considerations, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion in sentencing Austad.  Even if Austad’s sentence were considered “unusually harsh,” the district court explained the sentence with “sufficient justifications.”  See id. at 594.

March 5, 2008 at 06:28 PM | Permalink


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Larry Levine
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Posted by: Larry Levine | Mar 22, 2008 8:02:24 PM

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