Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thoughts on Padilla sentencing

  • Many news outlets are referring to the 17 year sentence as "lenient." Since when did 17 years become a lenient sentence? Think about where you were 17 years ago.
  • Some commenters are wondering why Padilla's sentence was the longest of the three defendants when his role was arguably the least serious. Answer: He had the worst criminal history. He is a career offender under the sentencing guidelines, while the other two defendants are not.
  • Will Padilla get credit for time he served in the naval brig?
  • Will the government appeal the sentences? They would very likely lose after the recent Supreme Court cases, Gall and Kimbrough, which gave very wide latitude to district judges in sentencing defendants. If they know they will likely lose, will they still appeal just to make a point?
  • Thank goodness for the Supreme Court's Apprendi line of cases. It lets judges judge again at sentencing.


Anonymous said...

On the time in the brig, he will not. The Judge took that into consideration and knocked close to four years off of his sentence.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Thank you for the criminal history clarification.

The point about the brig time being indirectly taken into account in setting the sentence in lieu of time served is also notable, meaning that the baseline that the judge is working from for Padilla for this offense is really more like 21 years. While it beats 30 years to life, it is indeed hardly lenient.

Time served for Padilla outside the brig looks to be about 2 years 2 months. This would put a release at 2023, reduced a few years for good time, if any, so maybe 2020.

The other big issues is where the Bureau of Prisons will put him. One would suspect that despite a lack of real basis in Padilla's conduct for it (he has been by all accounts a model prisoner), that Supermax or Admax seem likely destinations.

How hard the time is (barring a reversal on appeal) may be as serious an issue as how long the time is for him.