Monday, December 10, 2007

Huge sentencing day...

Criminal law practitioners have quite a bit of reading today as the Supreme Court decided two mammoth cases -- Gall v. United States and Kimbrough v. United States. In a nutshell, the cases are huge victories for district judges, criminal defense lawyers and their clients. The decisions reaffirm that district judges have wide discretion in sentencing defendants and that the guidelines are really just advisory. Judges are free to disagree with them (as the judge did in Kimbrough with the 100-1 crack disparity) and appellate courts are to defer to the district courts unless they abuse their discretion in sentencing. It will be interesting to see how district judges use their discretion now that the Supreme Court has said it really really means it.

In other sentencing news, Michael Vick got 23 months. Almost two years for a first-time offender with no prior history... Thoughts?

For all your sentencing news, the best place to go is and for the Supreme Court news, go to


Rumpole said...

I've got the copy of the Kimbrough opinion lined up and ready to go right behind my mandatory perusal of the NY Post, the Daily Racing Form, "Perfect 10" magazine, and I should get to it by the first of never.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Eleventh Circuit got this one wrong, except for Judge Barkett.