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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. All the lawyers involved in this don't add up to a hill of beans; mostly yes-men punching their tickets for future advancement. REMF types. Window dressing. Who in this mess was a real hero? the whistleblower that let the public know about the torture, whom the US sent to Jail. John Kyriakou. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/us/ex-officer-for-cia-is-sentenced-in-leak-case.html?_r=0 Now, considering that Torture is Illegal, considering that during Vietnam a soldier was court-martialed and imprisoned for waterboarding, why has the whistleblower gone to jail but none of the torturers have been held to account? It's amazing that Uncle Sam's sunk lower than Vietnam. But that's where we're at. An even more unjust and pointless war conducted in an even more bogus manner. this from npr: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier." Today, the US itself has become lawless.

  2. "Brain Damage" alright.... The lunatic is on the grass/ The lunatic is on the grass/ Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs/ Got to keep the loonies on the path.... The lunatic is in the hall/ The lunatics are in my hall/ The paper holds their folded faces to the floor/ And every day the paper boy brings more/ And if the dam breaks open many years too soon/ And if there is no room upon the hill/ And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too/ I'll see you on the dark side of the moon!!!

  3. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  4. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  5. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

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