Thursday, June 17, 2010

Disappointment in Dillon

The Supreme Court decided Dillon v. United States, No 09--6338 (June 17, 2010), today. Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court. Justice Stevens was the lone dissent. Justice Alito took no part in the decision. Booker does not apply to make Section 1B1.10 non-binding.

Court concludes that, by its terms, § 3582(c)(2) does not authorize a sentencing/resentencing proceeding. The section provides for the modification of a term of imprisonment---it gives courts the power to reduce an otherwise final sentence in the circumstances the Commission specified.

Majority does not respond to the dissent's separation-of-powers discussion because that issue was not encompassed in the questions presented and was not briefed.

Section 3582(c)(2) proceedings do not implicate the Sixth Amendment right to a jury finding of essential facts. Rejects Hicks reasoning.

Because 3582(c)(2) does not permit resentencing, correcting other sentencing errors is beyond the scope of such a proceeding.

Justice Stevens closes his dissent: "I had thought Booker dismantled the mandatory Guidelines regime. The Court ought to finish the job."

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