Friday, April 17, 2009

Major 3d Circuit En Banc Decision on Booker Sentencing in Tax Case (4/17/09)

Thanks to the Doug Berman's Sentencing Law & Policy Blog, I learned of the Third Circuit's en banc decision in United States v. Tomko, 562 F.3d 558, 567 (3d Cir. 2009) (en banc), here. There is lots of good stuff there, and I will probably pontificate on it after I have thoughtfully considered it (perhaps even one or two beers deep). However, my initial impression is that, perhaps, just perhaps, the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court (is that the right order?) do not believe that it is or should be their duty to micromanage sentencing decisions. Sure, there are policy arguments back and forth on that issue, but, really guys, is micromanagement of those decisions at the appellate level any way to run a justice system (with emphasis on justice), particularly with our history which, after all, informs us of who we are and who we ought to be?

Someone has said that, perhaps, post-Booker, we are back in the wild, wild west days of sentencing. I would not say wild, wild west. I would say that the judges are given the discretion to fashion the punishment to fit both the crime and the person.

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