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July 15, 2015

Fascinating new drug guideline resentencing opinion from Judge Jack Weinstein

Judge Jack Weinstein is a justifiably legendary federal judge (whom, I must note, will be turning 94 in a few weeks).  Among the reasons Judge Weinstein is justifiably legendary is his ability to author remarkable (and remarkable long) opinions on an array of federal legal subjects.  Today I learned of his latest such opinion in in US v. Alli-Balogun, 92–CR–1108 (E.D.N.Y July 15, 2015) (available for download below).  Here is how the opinion starts:

The case is a remarkable one.  Though the drug case was nasty, the long-term imprisonment, by today’s standards, was excessive.  Defendant has served 273 months in prison while his wife and children established high status employment in banking and medicine.  See Hr’g Tr., July 15, 2015. Throughout his incarceration, he has maintained close contact with his family. Id. This resentence provides an opportunity to rectify, in modest degree, an unnecessarily harsh sentence imposed in crueler times.

Download Weinstein § 3582(c)(2) OPINION on RESENTENCING

The next 70+ pages goes on to discuss (and break a little new ground) the defendant's motion for a reduction of sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and his challenge to his his conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (For the record, the defendant bats .500 in his efforts.)

July 15, 2015 at 06:35 PM | Permalink


I'd be shocked if the U.S. doesn't seek -- and get -- a stay from the 2d Cir.

This is yet another Weinstein opinion which reads as though it were entirely drafted by a law clerk or intern. Huge sections recounting the history of the sentencing commission -- with little apparent relevance to his eventual analysis. Section headings that read like a first-year legal writing assignment. Has anyone seen him on the bench lately? Does he seem with it, or basically senile?

Posted by: tom | Jul 15, 2015 8:05:02 PM

"entirely drafted by a law clerk or intern"

is this like a unique thing?

Don't a lot of judges have clerks draft opinions or do district court and appellate judges (including those not in their 90s) write all this material, repeatedly over 50 pages long even if you remove the let's grant unnecessary background material? At most, the judge would provide the framework, so actual text will be largely written by clerks.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 15, 2015 9:03:48 PM

This opinion is fascinating...fascinatingly wrong on so many levels. The Second Circuit will reverse this quickly, I predict.

Posted by: Reversed | Jul 16, 2015 11:35:48 AM

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