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November 5, 2008

Interesting Seventh Circuit ruling on experts at sentencing

Though today is surely a day for post-election political buzz, the law beat goes on.  And Judge Posner continues his tendency to produce buzz-worthy sentencing opinions for the Seventh Circuit with an opinion today in US v. Anderson, No. 07-3654 (7th Cir. Nov. 6, 2008) (available here). Here is the start and the key paragraph of a short opinion that is long on interesting passages:

The defendant pleaded guilty to committing a bank robbery in 2007. Before sentencing, he moved under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A for the appointment of a mental health expert to evaluate him for diminished mental capacity.  The district judge denied the motion.  The defendant asks us to vacate the sentence and direct the district judge to appoint a mental health expert and upon receiving the report to resentence the defendant....

A judge is not required to appoint a mental health expert without a showing that the appointment would have some (not necessarily a great) likelihood of resulting in a reduced sentence.  18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e); United States v. Fazzini, 871 F.2d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 1989);... compare Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68, 86 (1985).  That showing has not been made.

November 5, 2008 at 12:25 PM | Permalink


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