ILNews

7th Circuit upholds 300-month sentence

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The United States Sentencing Guidelines aren’t susceptible to vagueness challenges, so a defendant’s claim that the career offender sentencing guideline is unconstitutionally vague failed, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Cristofer Tichenor pleaded guilty to armed robbery and discharging a firearm in connection with robbing a bank in Cicero, Ind. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he retained the right to appeal the applicability of the career offender sentencing guideline. His attorney originally raised an objection to the application of this guideline, but later withdrew it at the sentencing hearing based on Sykes v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2267 (2011).

The District Court applied the career offender enhancement – based on prior convictions of dealing hash oil and resisting law enforcement – and sentenced Tichenor to 300 months in prison.

Tichenor argued on appeal that the career offender sentencing guideline is unconstitutionally vague and the U.S. Sentencing Commission exceeded its authority in enacting the current definition of “crime of violence.”

Citing previous caselaw on these issues, the 7th Circuit found that the Sentencing Guidelines can’t be challenged for vagueness and that the Sentencing Commission didn’t exceed its authority by putting into effect the “crime of violence” definition.

“The vagueness doctrine is concerned with providing fair notice and preventing arbitrary enforcement. Since the Guidelines are merely advisory, defendants cannot rely on them to communicate the sentence that the district court will impose,” wrote Judge Joel Flaum in United States of America v. Cristofer Tichenor, No. 11-2433.

The judges also noted that Tichenor was on notice that his prior conviction of resisting law enforcement qualified as a “crime of violence” at the time he committed the armed robbery.

In addition, the Sentencing Commission has the authority to adopt the current definition of “crime of violence,” even if it is a deviation from the definition that Congress had envisioned, Flaum wrote, citing United States v. Rutherford, 54 F.3d 370, 374 n.11 (7th Cir. 1995).  

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Law or not law
    vagueness cannot challenged, so let's write all laws vaguely and throw the constitution out the window.Even if the court is operating under a particular law, if they don't it they will change it to their liking. What a joke!!!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

  2. Cannabis is GOOD for our PEOPLE and GOOD for our STATE... 78% would like to see legal access to the product line for better Hoosier Heath. There is a 25% drop in PAIN KILLER Overdoses in states where CANNABIS is legal.

  3. This article is excellent and should be required reading for all attorneys and would-be attorneys, regardless of age or experience. I've caught myself committing several of the errors mentioned.

  4. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  5. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

ADVERTISEMENT