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April 25, 2008

Intriguing Second Circuit ruling on sentencing rationales

Issuing an opinion that is not easily summarized (but involves state-federal disparities and co-defendant disparities), the Second Circuit sends us into the weekend with some thoughtful musings in its sentence reversals in US v. Williams, No. 05-4416 (2d Cir. Apr. 25, 2008) (available here). Here is the first paragraph of the opinion to whet Booker reasonableness appetites:

This is an appeal by the United States from judgments, which were entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, convicting the defendants Brian Williams and Samuel Shuler on their pleas of guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute crack cocaine.  The appeal challenges the sentences imposed on the defendants by Judges McMahon and Brieant.  Judge McMahon sentenced Williams principally to a period of incarceration of 36 months, and Judge Brieant sentenced Shuler principally to a period of incarceration of 40 months. While the range prescribed by the Sentencing Guidelines is now 57 to 71 months, at the time the sentence was imposed it was 70 to 87 months.  The manner in which the significantly lower sentences were justified provides the basis for the appeal.

April 25, 2008 at 10:21 AM | Permalink


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You left out what the rationale was:

Williams relied on the plea bargaining policy of the
Westchester County District Attorney – one of the sixty-two independently elected district attorneys in New York who are vested with the discretion to set their prosecutorial and plea bargaining policies.

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 25, 2008 11:22:14 AM

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