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May 12, 2008

Judge Young's latest take on modern federal sentencing dynamics

Last week, US District Judge William Young of the District of Massachusetts issued another interesting (and lengthy) opinion about the modern state of federal sentencing in United States v. West, No. 06-10281 (D. Mass. May 7, 2008) (available here).  Judge Young's sentencing work always merits attention, and West does not disappoint.  There is too much ground covered in West to allow a simple summary, but here is a starting paragraph to provide a flavor of what follows:

Here, the derivation of the particular sentence imposed is fairly straight forward.  Nevertheless, as the consequences of disparagement and delay evident in this case so well demonstrate two particularly unfortunate and persistent artifacts of that now thoroughly discredited oxymoron — mandatory guidelines — a decent respect for sentencing consistency requires that I frankly admit my own complicity in such unfortunate persistence and explain how my institutional approach to criminal sentencing has evolved.

May 12, 2008 at 05:13 PM | Permalink


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Judge Young repeatedly refers to the unconstitutional, discredited mandatoy guideline system. I believe this is misleading. A mandatory guideline system based on the "offense of conviction" rather than "real offense conduct" would pass muster in my view.

Posted by: | May 13, 2008 1:01:39 PM

You have to read the transcript from the state court. It is absolutely unbelievable. Despite going a little over the top on some of his points, Judge Young was absolutely right to blast the state judge.

Posted by: | May 13, 2008 6:59:33 PM

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