Sunday, 25 March 2007

High-profile attack on acquitted conduct

From the blog "Law, sentencing and politics"

High-profile attack on acquitted conduct

Today's New York Sun has this article by Josh Gerstein, entitled "Al-Arian Asks Supreme Court To Overturn His Sentence," which spotlights a high-profile cert petition raise complains about a claimed sentence increase based on acquitted conduct. Here are details:

A Florida college professor who pleaded guilty to a charge of providing services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Sami Al-Arian, is asking the Supreme Court to overturn his 57-month prison sentence.

In a petition filed earlier this month, a lawyer for Al-Arian argued that the judge improperly punished the former University of South Florida professor for conduct that a jury acquitted him of during a six-month trial in 2005. "The record of the … sentencing hearing unambiguously demonstrates that the sentencing court did hold ‘acquitted conduct' against the defendant, to justify extending his incarceration for nearly a year," Al-Arian's attorney, C. Peter Erlinder, wrote. "It is difficult to imagine a clearer case for the need for protection against judicial hubris."

I am quoted in the article saying that SCOTUS should take up the issue of acquitted conduct sentence increases. But, as I also said to Josh Gerstein, the facts of the Al-Arian case may not present the best vehicle for the Justices to examine this issue.

Some recent posts on acquitted conduct sentence increases:

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