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Claiborne v. United States
No. 06-5618
    Mario Claiborne v. United States


  • In United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), this Court ruled that the mandatory use of the United States Sentencing Guidelines violated the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial on any fact required to enhance a criminal sentence. The Court remedied the error by making the Guidelines "effectively advisory" and, therefore, just one of many factors a court considers in choosing a sentence under 18 U.S.C. section 3553(a). The Court also prescribed appellate review of sentences for "reasonableness" in light of all the section 3553(a) factors and the reasons for the sentence as stated by the sentencing judge. The model of review on which Booker based this "reasonableness" standard paid "substantial deference" to a sentencing judge's discretionary choices in departing from the guidelines range, as held in Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81(1996). In light of the foregoing, these issues are presented:

    1. Does an appellate court make the Sentencing Guidelines effectively mandatory by granting a presumption of reasonableness to the Guidelines range in reviewing a sentence outside that range, rather than granting deference to the sentencing judge's decision in light of all the 3553(a) factors?

    2. Does granting a presumption of reasonableness to the guidelines range deny the substantial deference granted a district court's discretionary sentencing decision under the "reasonableness" standard chosen in Booker?

  • Certiorari was granted limited to the following questions:
    1. Was the District Court's choice of below-guidelines sentence reasonable?
    2. In making that determination, is it consistent with United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), to require that a sentence which constitutes a substantial variance from the guidelines be justified by extraordinary circumstances?


  • Docket Sheet From the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Northwestern University - Medill School of Journalism: On the Docket -- Coming Soon

    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Claiborne:

Michael Dwyer
Assistant Federal Public Defender
St. Louis, MO
For Respondent United States:
Paul D. Clement
U.S. Solicitor General
Washington, DC


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