I recently won a significant victory for a federal criminal client in United States District Court for the District of Maryland in a re-sentencing under Booker. https://www.silvermanthompson.com/lawyer-attorney-1301200.html In the Booker case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the federal sentencing guidelines that apply to all criminal cases prosecuted in federal courts were no longer mandatory. The Court in Booker held that federal judges should consider the sentencing guidelines in fashioning a sentence, but that the guidelines were just one of many factors to be weighed in sentencing. These factors are laid out in federal law at 18 U.S.C.§3553(a) & (b). They include the nature and circumstances of the person, the need to protect the public from further crimes by the defendant, as well as the nature and circumstances of the offense.
While the Court’s decision in Booker was not retroactive, the case does apply to cases that were on appeal at the time of the decision. In my recent case, the client had been convicted prior to Booker and sentenced to 174 months incarceration for being part of a multi-state drug conspiracy. The client’s trial defense attorney did not ask the federal appeals court to remand the case for a new sentencing in light of the Booker decision. I represented the client in a federal habeus suit in Maryland seeking that the client be re-sentenced.
In that case, the Chief Judge Legg agreed with our argument that the prior counsel’s failure to raise the Booker issue on appeal constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. He set the case in for a new sentencing hearing.