Thursday, August 17, 2006

District Courts Cannot Reject Guidelines' 100:1 Disparity Between Powder and Crack Cocaine even under the "Advisory" Guidelines Regime

United States v. Castillo, Docket No. 05-3454-cr (2d Cir. Aug. 16, 2006) (Katzmann, Sack, Murtha): To those who had hoped that our fair Circuit would have more sense than the First, Fourth, and Seventh Circuits, ... think again. In Castillo, the Second Circuit follows those Circuits in vacating and holding unreasonable a sentence based solely on the district court's policy disagreement with the Guidelines' 100:1 treatment of powder -vs- crack cocaine. While the Circuit left open the possibility of sentencing "adjustment[s] [based upon] the particularities of the individual defendant or the specific offense," the same suggestion made in United States v. Anati, Docket No. 05-3800 (2d Cir. July 20, 2006), it firmly concluded that "district courts do not have the authority to reject unilaterally the 100:1 ratio on policy grounds." Op. 2-3. Click here and here for Professor Berman's stinging critique of Castillo.


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