The Supreme Court today revisited federal sentencing guidelines in two cases where the trial judge made a downward departure. Two years ago the Court decided that the guidelines should no longer be mandatory, but could still be used in determining a reasonable sentence.
In the first case attorney Jeffrey T. Green argued for petitioner Brian Gall who had been given probation rather than the jail term suggested by the guidelines.
Michael S. Nachmanoff, the Federal Public Defender in Alexandria, Va., argued for petitioner in the second case, Kimbrough v. US, that involved the disparity in sentencing guidelines for “crack” cocaine compared to powder, which is 100-to-1 : five grams of crack gets you the same time as 500 grams of powder cocaine.
Deputy Solicitor General Michael R. Dreeben faced a skeptical court with no notes on his lectern (lawyer machismo?) and no amici briefs on his side.
WaPo story here.