If and when the Supreme Court holds that Blakely v. Washington applies to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (and maybe sooner), Congress may act quickly to pass "corrective" legislation. Some proposals under consideration would make the current sentencing system much worse -- for example, by prescribing a presumptive sentence at the statutory maximum for every offense, with the burden on the defendant to prove mitigating facts to reduce the sentence. To combat a hasty response and to provide a compelling case for sentencing fairness, the NACDL needs to highlight cases where the Sentencing Guidelines have caused disturbing inequity in federal sentencing.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO IDENTIFY CASES WHERE:
- acquitted and/or uncharged conduct unfairly and significantly increased the sentence;
- extremely dubious evidence was relied upon to significantly increase the sentence;
- relatively low-level participants in a conspiracy were sentenced far in excess of the leaders and organizers of the conspiracy;
- the prosecutor unfairly wielded his or her power by manipulating charges, drug weights or loss amounts for the sole purpose of unfairly increasing the possible sentence; or
- other abuses were caused either by the Guidelines or in the name of the Guidelines.
We are particularly interested in cases involving white-collar or non-violent offenders. You can respond to Kyle O'Dowd, NACDL Legislative Director, at Kyle@nacdl.org.
Please give as much information about these cases as possible, including the district, the docket number, case captions, defendants' names and the lawyers involved. Pleadings, transcripts or decisions (or citations thereto) that highlight the inequity of the case are particularly helpful.
Now, review some of your cases and see if you have any information that might be responsive to NACDL's request.