Corporate Compliance

400 cases to be reconsidered after change in sentencing guidelines

Compliance Monitor, January 26, 2005

The U.S. Supreme Court on January 24 ordered federal appeals courts to reconsider more than 400 criminal sentences less than two weeks after the high court diminished federal sentencing guidelines, the Washington Post reports.

Although reducing the sentencing guidelines from "mandatory" to "advisory" is already having an impact on the greater legal community, it's effect on healthcare is yet to be seen. Stay tuned to Compliance Monitor for more information as it becomes available.

The 400 cases that will be returned to the lower courts were being held pending the outcome of two cases heard simultaneously on January 12--United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan. Returning the cases to the federal appeals courts is only "the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the ramifications of the Booker-Fanfan decision, Douglas A. Berman of the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University told the Post.

Perhaps the clearest aspect of the decision to make the sentencing guidelines "advisory," is that "district judges are free to impose the sentences they deem appropriate, as long as they consult the guidelines and as long as the sentences are found 'reasonable' by the appeals courts," the Post reports.

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