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April 21, 2009

Effective review of Third Circuit's remarkable recent sentencing work

Writing in The Legal Intelligencer, Shannon P. Duffy has this new piece headlined "3rd Circuit Hands Major Victories to Criminal Defense Bar." The piece effectively reviews the two huge sentencing rulings from the Third Circuit last week (blogged here and here), and this is how the piece starts:

Criminal defense lawyers were thrilled by a pair of decisions handed down by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week that, like a one-two punch to the government, held that appellate courts must take a hands-off approach even when a sentence is very lenient, and that a below-guidelines sentence is sometimes not lenient enough.

Thursday's ruling in United States v. Olhovsky was especially significant because it marked the first time that the court has instructed a trial judge reduce an already-below-guidelines sentence (pdf) and to focus on the so-called "parsimony provision," which says courts must impose a sentence that is "sufficient but not greater than necessary" to comply with the purposes of sentencing.

Just one day later in United States v. Tomko, a 13-judge en banc panel voted 8-5 in holding that a sentence of probation and house arrest was not "unreasonable" for a wealthy confessed tax cheat -- even though prosecutors complained that the house arrest took place in the "gilded cage" of the defendant's mansion, which was built with the very funds he had hidden from the Internal Revenue Service.

April 21, 2009 at 10:38 AM | Permalink


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Another interesting bit, both were published. That seems especially important for the child porn case. You've brought up before how defense wins seem to get marked as non-precidential more often than prosecution wins.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Apr 22, 2009 3:39:57 AM

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