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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. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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