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July 9, 2010

Some white-collar reasonableness review headlines

Some notable stories of notable white-collar federal sentences being appealed are making headlines these days:

UPDATE:  The government's full brief to the Third Circuit in the Fumo case, which runs 250+ pages(!), is available at this link.  I wonder how much of our federal tax dollars got spent on this brief, which is devoted to trying to make sure an elderly crooked politician has to spend a little more time in federal prison.

July 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink


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To be fair and accurate, the government's brief on its appeal from the Fumo sentence is really only 268 pages long (about 54,500 words), not 281 pages as claimed by AP in the story you linked; that's the length of the PDF document, but I don't think you should really count the cover, certificates and tables. More important, this brief was tendered with a motion for leave to file oversize. (Standard allowance for an appeal brief is 14,000 words, or about 55-70 pages, depending on typography.) Prior permission was not sought. It remains to be seen whether the 3d Cir will accept it.

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 9, 2010 6:30:55 PM

Correction -- the word count on the government's proposed Fumo sentencing appeal brief is not 54,500 but rather a hair under 53,500. A mere 3.8 times the normal word-count limit. Even if you take into account that the brief covers two consolidated appeals which are not entirely the same, and use the 16,500 word limit for a second-step cross-appeal brief as your standard (the closest analogy in the rules for a brief addressing the merits of two related cases), it is about 3.25 times the standard length.

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 9, 2010 9:15:24 PM

"I wonder how much of our federal tax dollars got spent on this brief, which is devoted to trying to make sure an elderly crooked politician has to spend a little more time in federal prison."

About one one-zillionth of the federal tax dollars that got spent on putting up a dishonest (and properly rejected) defense for a mass murderer in Oklahoma City.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 10, 2010 2:22:23 PM

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