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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1189989
 
 

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Appellate Review of Sentencing Decisions


Carissa Byrne Hessick


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

F. Andrew Hessick


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

July 30, 2008

Alabama Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2008

Abstract:     
In Booker v. United States, the Supreme Court granted district courts broad discretion in imposing sentences in an effort to create a sentencing scheme complying with the Sixth Amendment. At the same time, however, to achieve the sentencing uniformity intended by Congress, the Court authorized circuit courts to review sentences for reasonableness. These two objectives - requiring district courts discretion and cabining that discretion through reasonableness review - are in tension with each other. This Article argues that, in an effort to satisfy these conflicting goals, the Court has in subsequent cases sacrificed the central functions of appellate review, error correction and law making. It has undermined the error correction function by permitting appellate courts to presume that within-Guidelines sentences are reasonable, and it has impaired the lawmaking function by directing appellate courts to defer to district courts' sentencing policy determinations. Moreover, the Court's failure to describe how to balance these two conflicting objectives, or even to acknowledge the conflict, has resulted in confusion in the circuit courts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: sentencing, standards of review, appellate practice, Supreme Court

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Date posted: July 31, 2008 ; Last revised: October 27, 2008

Suggested Citation

Hessick, Carissa Byrne and Hessick, F. Andrew, Appellate Review of Sentencing Decisions (July 30, 2008). Alabama Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1189989

Contact Information

Carissa Byrne Hessick (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
F. Andrew Hessick
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
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