Saturday, July 28, 2007

Amicus Brief Filed in Gall

An incredible amicus brief has been prepared by the Federal Public Defenders in the Gall case.  The question presented is "whether, when determining the 'reasonableness' of a district court sentence under United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), it is appropriate to require district courts to justify a sentence outside the range recommended by the United States Sentencing Guidelines with a finding of extraordinary circumstances."  The Brief covers four basic arguments:

"I. The Original Intent Was That Sentencing Policy and Practice Would Evolve in Response to the Actions and Views of Sentencing Courts.

II. Before Booker, The Intent That Decisions of Sentencing Judges Would Contribute to a Sentencing Common Law and Evolution of the Sentencing Guidelines Was Not Fulfilled.

III. After Booker, Aggressive Appellate Review of Sentences Outside the Guideline Range Again Forecloses the Possibility of District Court Feedback to the Commission, Discourages Development of a Sentencing Common Law, and Is Now Unlawful and Unconstitutional.

IV. Requiring Deference to District Courts’ Application of § 3553(a) to Individual Cases Will At Last Permit the Development of a Sentencing Common Law and a Dialogue with the Commission."

Credit for writing goes to Amy Baron-Evans with the assistance given her by Sara Noonan and Jennifer Coffin of the Federal Defender Sentencing Resource Counsel and Dan Kaplan, AFPD in the Arizona office. Editing and polishing done by Paul Rashkind,Henry Bemporad, David Lewis, Kristen Rogers, and Tim Crooks .

Brief - Download gall_defender_amicus.pdf

(esp) (w/ a hat tip to David Beneman)

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