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7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider sentence

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a limited remand in a drug case Tuesday after finding the lower court should have sentenced the defendant based on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which took effect after his crimes were committed but before he was sentenced.

In United States of America v. Tony Currie, 12-1666, Tony Currie appealed his 121-month sentence following a guilty plea to conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and possession of a firearm following a felony conviction. The sentence was just above what the court and parties believed to be the statutory 10-year minimum prison term.

Currie was charged in June 2010 following several controlled buys with a confidential informant. He was sentenced by Judge Sarah Evans Barker after the FSA took effect, but the parties involved assumed that the FSA did not apply since the crimes were committed prior to the enactment of the Act. But several months after Currie was sentenced, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Dorsey v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2321 (2012), that the FSA applies to any defendant sentenced after its effective date, even if the offense was committed before the Act’s enactment.

“The district judge’s remarks at sentencing give us no indication that she ever considered the possibility that a lower statutory minimum might apply to Currie (recall that Currie did not challenge the applicability of the ten-year minimum term below), nor do they include an unambiguous statement to the effect that the judge would have considered the 121-month sentence it imposed reasonable even if the five-year minimum specified by the Fair Sentencing Act applied, as we now know (in hindsight) that it does,” Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote.

“We therefore order a limited remand so that the district judge may consider, and state on the record, whether she would have imposed the same sentence on Currie knowing that he was subject to a five-year rather than a ten-year statutory minimum term of imprisonment. We shall retain jurisdiction over this appeal pending the district court’s answer to our inquiry.”
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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