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March 1, 2012

Ninth Circuit to review en banc whether federal courts must respect modified state sentence

As reported in this post from last summer, a split Ninth Circuit ruled in a pair of cases that "given the California state courts’ wide latitude to modify ongoing probationary terms under California state law, the federal district courts in calculating criminal history points for purposes of safety valve eligibility must credit state orders terminating probationary sentences."  The dissenting opinion to this original panel ruling lamented that the "troubling effect of the majority’s holding is that, where convicted federal defendants are facing imposition of federal statutory mandatory minimum sentences in upcoming sentencing proceedings in federal court, it is a state court that will decide whether imposing that mandatory minimum is appropriate."

As reported via this new order, that panel opinion is no longer good law because the Ninth Circuit has decided to take up this matter en banc.  The lead case is US v. Yepez, and it will be interesting both to see what the en banc Ninth Circuit ultimately rules and whether this matter might ultimately grab the Supreme Court's attention.

March 1, 2012 at 02:28 PM | Permalink


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When there is so much discussion about so many people in prison, giving this young defendant (Yepez) a break on the state side seems an appropriate thing to do. It would seem to be a good thing if he is successful---Still has to serve prison time, just not so much of it.

Posted by: folly | Mar 2, 2012 7:49:03 AM

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