Monday, November 06, 2006

Presumption of Reasonableness Goes to the Supremes

According to the New York Times, last Friday the Supreme Court granted cert in two cases involving major post-Booker sentencing issues. One, Rita v. US, comes out of the Fourth Circuit via an unpublished opinion. According to the Times:

The defendant in the first case, from North Carolina, is a 57-year-old retired marine named Victor A. Rita Jr., who was convicted of making false statements in connection with a federal investigation into the sale of kits for making machine guns.

While Mr. RitaÂ’s sentence, 33 months, was within the range provided by the sentencing guidelines, he argued on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the sentence was unreasonably long, given his poor health and unblemished record of federal service, both as a marine and in two civilian agencies.

But the Fourth Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Va., and includes North Carolina, is one of the federal circuits that have adopted a presumption of reasonableness for sentences within the guidelines range. The appeals court consequently rejected his appeal in a brief unpublished opinion.

Congrats to the MWDNC PD's office for having their petition granted.

The other case granted on Friday was from the Eighth Circuit, Claiborne v. US, involves what a district court must do to justify a below-the-Guidelines sentence:
Mr. ClaiborneÂ’s Supreme Court appeal, Claiborne v. United States, No. 06-5618, thus presents the other side of the coin: not whether it is presumptively reasonable to issue a sentence within the guidelines range, but whether it is presumptively unreasonable not to do so.
No indication on when the Court is scheduled to hear these cases.

UPDATE: The cert petition and other docs in the Rita case can be found here.

Edited to fix a link ancongratulatete the correct office.

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