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January 13, 2009

Lots of notable sentencing action from the Eighth Circuit

By my quick count, the Eighth Circuit has already handed down nearly a dozen sentencing opinions this week.  And two of the rulings today are especially noteworthy because they deal with the constitutionality of prosecutions under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and with the scope of a judge's authority in crack retroactivity proceedings.  Here are unofficial summaries these rulings from this official opinions page:

18 U.S.C. Sec. 2250, which provides for prosecution of anyone who fails to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is a constitutional exercise of Congress's commerce clause powers; SORNA's registration provision is a constitutional exercise commerce clause power as it is an appropriate aid to the accomplishment of the goal of tracking the interstate movement of sex offenders; in defendant Howell's case, the district court did not err in concluding the Northern District of Iowa was the proper venue for his prosecution as his SORNA offense commenced in the district.

The Sentencing Commission's policy statement in Guidelines Sec. 1B1.10 which specifies that proceedings under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3582(c) do not constitute a full resentencing and which directs that the sentencing court must not reduce the sentence of a defendant who was originally sentenced within the applicable guidelines range to a term that is less than the minimum of the amended guidelines range is constitutional and enforceable, and the district court correctly determined that it lacked the authority to further reduce defendant's sentence.

January 13, 2009 at 01:13 PM | Permalink

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