The federal sentencing guidelines are probably the most problematic in three areas – fraud, child pornography, and drugs.
Today’s case, United States v. Diallo, illustrates two of the big problems with the fraud guidelines. First, they’re really complicated – so complicated that federal prosecutors sometimes don’t really understand how they work. In this case, the prosecutor at sentencing took a position so clearly inconsistent with the guidelines that the government abandoned it for the appeal.
(An astute reader will notice that this means the district court went along with the federal prosecutor’s flawed guidelines understanding. It’s a shame, but c’est la guerre.).
It’s hard not to want to celebrate the orderly processes of government on the day after a Presidential Inauguration.
Though, for those of us who represent people accused of crimes, the “orderly processes of government” may feel a bit different. It’s good that we don’t have lynch mobs or posses with pitchforks chasing people who we think have violated the norms of our society.
But, as our President reminded us yesterday, our journey is not complete. Of course, most folks agree with the President that our journey is not complete until women earn equal pay, same sex couples can marry, voting rights are meaningful, and immigrants are welcomed.