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August 12, 2010

Sixth Circuit decides it lacks jurisdiction to review discretionary decision to deny a sentence reduction

The Sixth Circuit has an interesting little panel decision today in US v. Bowers, No. 08-5595 (6th Cir. Aug. 12, 2010) (available here), which gets started this way:
Although it has been over five years since the Supreme Court’s thoroughgoing reform of federal sentencing law in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), a number of open questions remain regarding that decision’s ramifications.  In particular, this case requires us to decide Booker’s impact  if any  on our jurisdiction to hear the appeal from a district court’s decision to reduce (or decline to reduce) a final sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (“§ 3582(c)(2)”) and/or Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b) (“Rule 35(b)”).  Because the Supreme Court has recently clarified that Booker does not apply to such sentence-reduction proceedings, see Dillon v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2683 (2010), we conclude that we lack jurisdiction to hear a defendant’s appeal of the grant or denial of a sentence reduction pursuant to those sections on Booker  “reasonableness” grounds.  Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for want of jurisdiction.

August 12, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Permalink


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Of course it does.

Posted by: John K | Aug 13, 2010 10:07:43 AM

"Of course it does" lack jurisdiction? Or "of course it does" have jurisdiction? It's far from an obvious question; a prior panel of the Sixth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion (in an opinion that has been vacated). See footnote 11 of this opinion.

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