Kimbrough v. United States put more power and authority back in the hands of the Sentencing Judge, which is where it should be in our system of justice.
New York, NY (PRWEB) January 28, 2013
In the fourth installment of his ongoing look at the history and development of United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on the influential case Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. 85 (2007).
“This case was particularly important, because it determined whether or not the sentencing court may impose a sentence outside the Federal Sentencing Guidelines range, given the discrepancy in the statute between powder cocaine and crack cocaine, and when deviation from the U.S.S.G. is based on the court’s consideration of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a),”commented Mr. Preziosi, whose appellate law practice is based in New York City’s Times Square.
In Kimbrough v. United States, the defendant Kimbrough pled guilty to four drug-related counts that involved both powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Per statutory requirements, Kimbrough faced imprisonment of 15 years to life. However, under United States Sentencing Guidelines, Kimbrough faced a higher sentencing range of between 228 and 270 months, because, unlike the statutory requirements, the Guidelines treat crack cocaine offenses more harshly than powder cocaine offenses. Ultimately, the district judge imposed the mandatory minimum sentence, of 180 months.
On appeal, in a 7-2 opinion rendered by Justice Ginsburg, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Kimbrough’s sentence and ordered further proceedings. The opinion confirmed that it was per se unreasonable to impose a sentence outside of the U.S.S.G. range, if that deviation was a result of a policy disagreement between how the Guidelines deal with crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses, and how the statutory requirements deal with them.
“The gist of this very important case is that the Supreme Court determined that the Sentencing Judge could depart from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, if he or she felt that the sentence for a crack-related case was too great or was far in excess of a sentence for a powder cocaine-related case. It put more power and authority back in the hands of the Sentencing Judge, which is where it should be in our system of justice.”
Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Kimbrough v. United States is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/kimbrough-v-us-the-disparity-between-the-guidelines-treatment-of-crack-and-powder-cocaine-in-determining-a-sentence/.
For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.
Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law. Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.