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Sentencing judges should not be extraneous and inflammatory

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2016 | Firm News

According to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals July 22 opinion, when a trial judge makes “extraneous and inflammatory comments during the sentencing hearing,” it “cast[s] doubt on the validity of the sentence.”  Such a record leaves an appellate court with “no way of knowing” whether “these irrelevant considerations affected” the sentence.
Such extraneous and inflammatory comments during the sentencing hearing occur when the trial judge makes “several wide-ranging soliloquies” on urban decay, social unrest, the “pathology” of some neighborhoods, and his own experiences in the defendant’s neighborhood.
The case is United States v. Robinson and appellate decision is here and sentencing transcript here