Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In Split Opinion, Tenth Circuit Affirms 292-month Sentence

U.S. v. Madrid, 2007 WL 806930 (3/19/07)(unpub'd) - Without mentioning US v. Sanchez-Juarez, 446 F.3d 1109 (10th Cir. 2006), Judges Hartz and Murphy hold that Judge Conway's failure to address at all the defendant's argument for a sentence below the guideline range was okay. The majority strongly presumes that a district judge, especially an experienced one, knows and applies the law. The majority recognized a 292-month sentence was "quite harsh," but not unreasonable given that harsh sentencing for drug offenses is clearly federal policy. In dissent, Judge Holloway opines that Sanchez-Juarez required reversal because he could not discern from the record whether the d.ct. relied on the guidelines alone.