ILB points out that the 7th Circuit issued two rulings yesterday related to sentencing. There is a lot to go through, so this post will be updated, but in the meantime check out what they have over at ILB.
EDIT: 6:14 PM
In the first case, U.S. v. Jones, et al., the 7th Circuit highlights several issues with regards to sentencing. Two most important ones:
- Defendants must be sentenced according to the guidelines in place when the crime was committed, and not subsequent guidelines, if those new guidelines would increase the sentence, as to do otherwise would violate the ex post facto clause of the Constitution.
- Any element that would serve to increase the mandatory minimum sentence must be submitted to and found by a jury.
In U.S. v. Adame-Hernandez, which involves the same criminal conspiracy (cocaine-dealing) as the first case, the Circuit court makes a very narrow rule regarding plea deals. Adame pleaded guilty to a specific charge, and only after did the trial court reject a plea agreement on virtually identical charges. He ended up being sentenced to 196 months longer than the agreement would have called for. The 7th Circuit vacates and sends the case back to have him sentenced under the original agreement. This case needs some closer reading to really grasp, but on the surface it does appear to be the type of narrow case unlikely to be used often in the future.