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Court upholds sentence-reduction denial

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Even though a defendant may be eligible for a sentence reduction under new crack cocaine sentencing guidelines, it is up to the District Court's discretion to grant a reduced sentence, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. The Circuit Court affirmed a District Court's denial to reduce a man's sentence because of his behavior while in prison.

In United States of America v. Victor A. Young, No. 08-1863, a U.S. District judge of Indiana's Northern District declined granting Victor Young's motion to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2) for possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute even though the government agreed a sentence reduction was appropriate. The District judge based his decision on the contents of an addendum that reported Young had been sanctioned 15 times for incidents of misconduct while in prison. The judge reasoned that this behavior reflected poorly on his ability to be rehabilitated and he posed a danger to the community if his sentence was reduced.

In his appeal, Young challenged the process the District Court used to rule on his motion. He believed if the court was to rely on new information about his prison sanctions, he should have been given notice to contest it.

However, Young did have access to the addendum prepared by the probation office four days before he filed his motion and could have addressed the information in his initial submission to the court but did not, wrote 7th Circuit Judge Diane Sykes.

The judge did think his behavior in prison was important and by written order and without holding a hearing, denied Young's motion. And, under Section 3582(c)(2), the District Court has substantial discretion in deciding how to adjudicate those motions, wrote Judge Sykes.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hadn't attempted to identify the minimum procedural protections required under the section but declined to do so today. Even if the appellate court assumed a defendant has to have an opportunity to comment on post-sentencing conduct in a Section 3582(c)(2) proceeding, Young had that opportunity.

The defendant bears the burden of requesting the court for a different procedure, but Young never did. Even if he thought four days wasn't enough time to investigate the sanctions in the addendum, he could have raised the issue for more time, wrote Judge Sykes.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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