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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In United States v. Terry Joe Smith (SD Ind., Lawrence), an 8-page opinion, Judge Posner writes:

Terry Joe Smith, a police officer in Putnam County, Indiana (roughly midway between Indianapolis and Terre Haute), was convicted by a jury in federal court of violating 18 U.S.C. § 242 by depriving two persons, under color of state law (which is to say in Smith’s capacity as a police officer), of their constitutional right not to be subjected to the intentional use of unreasonable and excessive force. Sentenced to 14 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release, Smith appeals his conviction and the government appeals his sentence, the brevity of which, it contends, the judge failed to justify. * * *

In short, does the judge’s review of these cases provide any basis for thinking 14 months a proper sentence for Smith? Apart from the judge’s reference to anger management and comments on Smith’s minor good works in the community, no reason for the light sentence he imposed can be found in the transcript of the sentencing hearing.

We add that the judge imposed the standard conditions of supervised release without stating them in the sentencing hearing. That was error too; the entire sentence must be given orally. E.g., United States v. Harper, 805 F.3d 818, 822 (7th Cir. 2015).

Conviction affirmed, sentence vacated, case remanded for full resentencing.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 28, 2016 12:09 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions