How Appealing

Thursday, May 31, 2007

“In a case involving a variance of this magnitude, we hold that, whatever latitude a sentencing court may have to adjust a defendant’s sentence in an exercise of Booker discretion, it may not discard the advisory Guideline range and impose sentence, instead, on the basis of evidence of the defendant’s uncharged, unrelated misconduct, whether actually committed or contemplated for the future.” On behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Judge Michael W. McConnell today issued a decision that begins:

Leroy Eric Allen pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. That crime carries a statutory minimum punishment of ten years imprisonment and a maximum of life. The district court sentenced Mr. Allen to 360 months imprisonment, which is more than two-and-a-half times the top end of the Sentencing Guidelines’ recommended range. The district court based its sentencing decision on certain extreme facts that came to light during the investigation of Mr. Allen–namely, his professed desire to rape and murder young girls and the possible steps he took toward achieving those ends. Indeed, the district court gave Mr. Allen the sentence he would have received had he been convicted by a jury of solicitation of murder or attempted sexual abuse and abduction of a child. We hold that, although the sentencing court may consider Mr. Allen’s unrelated, non-charged conduct in fashioning a sentence, the magnitude of the variance in this case and the way it was calculated were unreasonable. We therefore vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.

You can access the complete ruling at this link.

Posted at 9:04 PM by Howard Bashman

“Claiborne death reported”: Lyle Denniston has this post at “SCOTUSblog.”

And Law Professor Doug Berman has this post at the “Sentencing Law and Policy” blog.

Posted at 12:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court Upholds $2.8M Iran Terrorism Claim”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The brother of an Iranian terrorism victim can collect $2.8 million from a California company that owes Iran for a canceled weapons shipment, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link.

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

“Forum asks: Does money sway judges?” The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains an article that begins, “With two seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court up for grabs in November, judicial campaigns are gearing up for an expensive fall race.”

Posted at 10:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Jurists not swayed on police privacy rights; State high court suggests the law allows for the disclosure of an officer’s name and salary, but seems divided over releasing hiring records”: Maura Dolan has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“S.C. to Rule on Suit Alleging Price Discrimination Against Men; Justices Agree to Decide Whether Demand for Equal Treatment Is Prerequisite to Litigation”: In the October 20, 2005 issue of Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Kenneth Ofgang had an article that begins, “The California Supreme Court yesterday agreed to decide whether a patron who claims that a business charged a discriminatory price or fee based on gender is barred from suing if the patron did not demand equal treatment at the time.”

The Supreme Court of California‘s decision in Angelucci v. Century Supper Club is scheduled to issue at 1 p.m. eastern time today.

The web sites of Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Northern California, and Pacific Legal Foundation all provide some coverage of the case.

Posted at 8:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“The justice reaches civics”: Today in The Washington Times, Suzanne Fields has an op-ed that begins, “Sandra Day O’Connor describes herself as a ‘product of the last century,’ but she’s determined to be an up-to-date grandmother. She retired from the Supreme Court a little more than a year ago and often watches her grandchildren playing on their computers. Inspired, she wants to harness this revolutionary instrument to teach kids the nuts and bolts of democracy.”

Posted at 8:07 AM by Howard Bashman

“Plaintiff Lawyer to Quit His Firm; Lerach Represented Enron Shareholders”: The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, “Plaintiff lawyer William S. Lerach, who has brought scores of cases on behalf of defrauded shareholders, has told clients and others that he is leaving the California law firm he started three years ago, according to two people briefed on the issue.”

Posted at 7:55 AM by Howard Bashman

“Justice Dept. Expands Probe To Include Hiring Practices”: The Washington Post contains this article today.

The Los Angeles Times today contains articles headlined “Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap; A prosecutor apparently targeted for firing had supported Native American voters’ rights” and “Probe of Justice Department hiring expands; The effort aims to see whether politics were injected into employment decisions at the civil rights unit.”

In The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage reports that “Justice Dept. probes its hirings; Investigating for bias toward conservatives.”

And USA Today reports that “Justice Dept. expands probe to hirings.”

Posted at 7:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Big Disparities in Judging of Asylum Cases”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “Asylum seekers in the United States face broad disparities in the nation’s 54 immigration courts, with the outcome of cases influenced by things like the location of the court and the sex and professional background of judges, a new study has found.”

The law review article that is the subject of this news report is titled “Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication,” and you can access it online from SSRN (abstract with link for download).

Posted at 7:35 AM by Howard Bashman

In commentary available online from FindLaw: Marci Hamilton has an essay entitled “States Move to Enact Laws Allowing the Death Penalty for Pedophiles: A Good Sign with Respect to Public Dedication to Protecting Children, But Potentially Not the Most Effective Way to Do So.”

And Joanna Grossman has an essay entitled “The Fortieth Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia: The Personal and Cultural Legacy of the Case that Ended Legal Prohibitions on Interracial Marriage.”

Posted at 7:25 AM by Howard Bashman