« Ind. Decisions - More on: Appeals court to hear Lawrence utilities case | Main | Ind. Courts - Shepard reappointed chief justice of Indiana for 5th five-year term »

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana decision today, and two others of interest

In US v. Johnson (SD Ind., John Daniel Tinder, Judge), a 5-page opinion, Judge Posner writes:

POSNER, Circuit Judge. Under the federal sentencing regime created by the Booker decision, the sentencing judge is first to compute and consider the guidelines range for the defendant’s offense and then to select and impose a sentence—which can be inside or outside that range (provided of course that it is within the statutory sentencing range)—guided by the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). If the judge follows this procedure and commits no legal or clear factual errors and discusses the applicability of any substantial statutory sentencing factors drawn to his attention by either party, we must uphold his sentence unless it is unreasonable. Since the statutory sentencing factors are multiple and vague, it will be the rare case in which it is possible to say that the judge who has complied with the procedural requirements set forth above imposed an unreasonable sentence. * * *

Johnson’s crimes would have justified on grounds of both retribution and deterrence an even longer sentence than he received. The statutory maximum of 108 months (9 years) would have been reasonable. The judge displayed lenity, not the reverse as Johnson argues. AFFIRMED.

Also of interest today from the 7th Circuit is an appeal from the ND Ill.in the case of IN RE: AFRICAN-AMERICAN SLAVE DESCENDANTS LITIGATION. The 17-page opinion is written by Judge Posner, Judges Easterbrook and Manion are also on the panel. A quote from p. 4:
The defendants are companies or the successors to companies that provided services, such as transportation, finance, and insurance, to slaveowners. At least two of the defendants were slaveowners; the predecessor of one of the bank defendants once accepted 13,000 slaves as collateral on loans and ended up owning 1,250 of them when the borrowers defaulted, and the predecessor of another defendant ended up owning 346 slaves, also as a consequence of a borrower’s default. Even before the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery was illegal in the northern states, and the complaint charges that the defendants were violating the laws of those states in transacting with slaveowners. It also claims that there were occasional enslavements long after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and that some of the defendants were complicit in those too. By way of relief, the complaint seeks disgorgement to the class members of the profits that the defendants obtained from their dealings with slaveowners.
Also today, US v. Hook, dealing with (and affirming) the constitutionality of the federal DNA collection act.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 13, 2006 01:46 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions