Friday, July 15, 2011

Exciting Tapia developments!

In United States v. David Brooks, 10-6556, issued today and found here, the Sixth Circuit holds that if rehabilitation is one of the reasons for a defendant's sentence, the sentence must be vacated and remanded for a new sentencing hearing. This is based on the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Tapia v. United States, -- U.S. --, 2011 WL 2369395 (2011). Though an unpublished opinion, I think Brooks gives strong support to any pending appeal where rehabilitation is cited as a reason for a given sentence. Fire up your 28j letters now.

The Court also released United States v. Modena, 10-1377, today (found here). In it, the Court finds Modena's Tapia argument unpersuasive. However, the District Court had said it did not think the criminal justice system had any way of rehabilitating Modena. Viewed in tandem with Brooks, it appears a sentence will be upheld if the court says, "there's nothing we can do for you," and vacated if the court says, "you need rehabilitation while in jail."

For those of us with appeals in the pipeline, these are exciting times. Happy Friday!

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