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7th Circuit upholds 300-month sentence

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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).  

 

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  • 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!!!

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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