Thursday, June 11, 2009

Three Quick Notes on Cases---Rule 35(b), Fleeing and Eluding, and Explanations of Sentences

United States v. Grant, No. 07–3831, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 12330 (6th Cir. June 9, 2009) (panel of Judges Gibbons, Keith, and Merritt):

* "What factors a district court may consider when ruling on a Rule 35(b) motion is an issue of first impression in this circuit, though we have stated in an unpublished opinion that ‘[i]n evaluating a Rule 35(b) motion for reduction, a district court can consider a broad array of factors.’"

* "It stands to reason that a defendant’s substantial assistance will be the predominant factor in a district court’s decision to reduce a sentence pursuant to Rule 35(b). But that does not mean that a district court is precluded from considering other factors at the same time, whether those factors ultimately militate in favor of a larger, smaller, or identical sentence to the one it would have imposed on the basis of substantial assistance alone."

* So, the door is open for broader consideration of the issues.


United States v. LaCasse, No. 06–2212 (6th Cir. June 4, 2009) (panel of Judges Gibbons, Norris, and Rogers):

* Begay analysis does not change earlier holding that Michigan Fleeing and Eluding is a crime of violence. (Note—check your subsection. Fourth-Degree F and E not categorically a crime of violence.)

* Holding seems to be in tension with other recent conclusions.


United States v. Grams, No. 08–1697 (6th Cir. May 29, 2009) (panel of Judges Clay, McKeague, and Holschuh [S.D. Ohio]):

* Sentencing courts must clearly identify any deviations from the guideline range. Was this deviation a departure or a variance?

* District courts must provide specific reasons for departures and variances.

* Good discussion of the need to explain sentences.

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