Archive | sentencing

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

The “Regalado Remand”

United States v. Regalado, No. 05-5379-cr (2d Cir. March 4, 2008) (Jacobs, Pooler, Sack, CJJ) (per curiam)

At last, the circuit has told us what to do in light of Kimbrough. And the answer is, in essence, a Crosby remand.

Regalado received a 262-month crack sentence, the bottom of the Guideline range (he was not a career offender). The sentencing judge said nothing about the 100-to-1 crack/cocaine disparity and the defendant never raised it. Due to this silence, the appellate court concluded that it could not “tell whether the district court would have exercised its now clear discretion to mitigate the sentencing range produced by the 100-to-1 ratio.” To solve the problem, the court decided to import the “Crosby mechanism” to crack cases.

Specifically, where a “defendant has not preserved the argument that the sentencing range for the crack cocaine offense fails to serve the [statutory] …


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Categories: crack, sentencing, Uncategorized

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Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away

United States v. Dominguez, No. 05-7005-cr (2d Cir. February 15, 2008) (Miner, Sack, Hall, CJJ)

Carol Dominguez faced 240-months in prison: a ten-year crack minimum that was doubled because of her prior conviction. The government moved for a downward departure under 5K1.1 and 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e), then asked the court to sentence her somewhere within a 151 to 188 month range. At sentencing, the judge granted the government’s motions, and then considered mitigating information from Dominguez’ family, friends, employers and the defendant herself. The judge indicated that he believed he had the “discretion to sentence you as to what I feel would be fair and reasonable under the circumstances.” He said that he had “reviewed and considered all the pertinent information including but not limited to the presentence investigation report, submissions by counsel the factors outlined in 18 U.S.C. Section 3553 and the sentencing guidelines” and sentenced her to …


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Categories: cooperation, sentencing, Uncategorized

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Russian Revolution

United States v. Verkhoglyad, No. 05-4210-cr (2d Cir. February 14, 2008) (Cabranes, Raggi, CJJ, Berman, DJ)

Oleg Verkhoglyad was a Russian mobster who repeatedly received lenient treatment. First, after cooperating in a 1998 extortion case, he received a 5K1.1 departure. Six months after getting out of jail, he violated his supervised release by committing a multitude of new offenses. He pled guilty to the supervised release violation and a new felon-in-possession charge, then talked his way into another cooperation agreement. After nearly four years of working with the government, he received another 5K letter. This time, he got 4 years’ probation on the gun charge and 3 years of supervised release on the supervised release violation. Within weeks of his sentencing, he violated his supervision by using marijuana and leaving the district without permission. This time, however, his luck ran out. The district judge slammed him, giving him 57 months’ …


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Categories: probation violation, sentencing, Uncategorized

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Monday, December 31st, 2007

Permanent Waive

United States v. Quinones, No. 04-5554 (2d Cir. December 28, 2007) (Winter, Cabranes, Raggi, CJJ)

This case has lengthy discussions of two important issues. It turns out that the one that has received the less press is actually the more interesting of the two, so we’ll begin with that.

1. Sentencing Error Waived

Facts: In this capital case, the defendants initially faced three counts that exposed them to the death penalty. Two related to murder in aid of racketeering under 18 U.S.C. § 1959; for these, a life sentence was mandatory if death was not imposed. The defendants were acquitted of these counts.

They were convicted only of murder in relation to a continuing drug enterprise (“CCE”) under 21 U.S.C. § 848(e). At the time, that section provided for a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life if death was not imposed. Nevertheless, the defendants …


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Categories: jury selection, sentencing, Uncategorized, waiver

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Blurry Vision Leads to Clear Error

United States v. Lin Guang, No. 05-4724(L)-cr (2d Cir. December 13, 2007) (McLaughlin, Wesley, CJJ, Sessions, DJ)

Two defendants in an extortion case raised a host of garden-variety challenges to their conviction, to little effect, and to their sentence, one of which prevailed.

During one of the extortions, a victim was beaten and a caustic substance was sprayed into his eyes, briefly blinding him. Once he rinsed it out, his eyes felt better, but from that point on he found it painful to read for long periods of time, and thus had stopped reading the newspaper. Based on this account, the district court imposed a six-level Guideline enhancement for permanent injury, which is defined as “loss or substantial impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty that is likely to be permanent.”

The circuit held that the district court’s finding that the impairment, as described, was …


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Categories: clear error, sentencing, Uncategorized

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