Criminal Defense Expert Discusses Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Tampa, Florida Drug Lawyer, W. F. ''Casey'' Ebsary - Federal Sentencing GuidelinesTampa, Florida Drug Lawyer, W. F. ''Casey'' Ebsary notes that in a strongly worded and important per curiam summary reversal today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its holding in Kimbrough that "district courts are entitled to reject and vary categorically from the crack-cocaine Guidelines based on a policy disagreement with those Guidelines." Casey is available to help in federal defense matters by contacting him Toll Free 1-877-793-9290.

In Spears v. United States, __ S.Ct. __, 2009 WL 129044 (Jan. 21, 2008), the Court explained what Kimbrough meant:

[E]ven when a particular defendant in a crack cocaine case presents no special mitigating circumstances – no outstanding service to country or community, no unusually disadvantaged childhood, no overstated criminal history score, no post-offense rehabilitation – a sentencing court may nonetheless vary downward from the advisory guideline range. The court may do so based solely on its view that the 100-to-1 ratio embodied in the sentencing guidelines for the treatment of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine creates "an unwarranted disparity within the meaning of § 3553(a)" and is "at odds with § 3553(a)." The only fact necessary to justify such a variance is the sentencing court's disagreement with the guidelines – its policy view that the 100-to-1 ratio creates an unwarranted disparity.

See Spears, __ S.Ct. at __, 2009 WL 129044 at *2 (quoting United States v. Spears, 533 F.3d 715, 719 (8th Cir. 2008) (Colloton, J., dissenting)).

Spears is the latest indication that the Supreme Court is running out of
patience with appellate courts and government arguments that attempt to
artificially narrow judicial discretion post-Booker. Use Spears in any
case involving a guideline that does not exemplify the Commission's
characteristic institutional role – meaning any guideline that was not the
product of (1) reliance on empirical evidence of pre-guidelines sentencing
practice, or (2) review and revision in light of judicial decisions,
sentencing data, and comments from participants and experts in the field.
These would include the following guidelines, among others:

Career offender
Child pornography and other sex offenses
Economic crimes
Limitations on the availability of probation or other alternatives to
Relevant Conduct

For sample briefs, litigation strategy memoranda and further resources on how to raise these attacks, click the "Deconstructing the Guidelines" link on Sentencing Resources page, available at