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).  



  • 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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.