Friday, March 14, 2008

The Shark Weighs in on Mobster Sentencing and Federal Guidelines

The Michael Marcello sentencing was held and he was sentenced to 102 months, which is within the guideline range of 87-108 months. Some may think this was too much and others may say not enough. The federal guidelines are a funny set of rules. There are these things called "grouping" where a judge can find different crimes can be grouped together and in effect cancel each other out and become equal in the equation. Sentencing guidelines also use tax losses to calculate the range. The more mula (money) the more time.

Guidelines can be tricky and even courts, prosecutors, probation officers, and defense lawyers can have different views on their application. The Supreme Court recently ruled judges can depart from the guidelines and impose sentences not in violation of a statutory minimum. This is a new direction in which courts can depart. We as lawyers (prosecutors and judges are lawyers) get used to one system and then another one is put in its place. As the guidelines fade away so do the sentences. We have more people in prison than any other country. Are lawyers losing that many cases?

Joseph "The Shark" Lopez

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