Friday, October 13, 2006

US v. Hungerford, No. 05-30500 (10-13-06). The defendant was a mentally disturbed, barely functioning, easily led and victimized 52 year old woman, with no prior record, whose husband of 26 years had recently left her. She fell under the sway of a "new boyfriend" and conspired in a series of robberies. She never touched a gun. She spent money from the robberies and helped with cover-ups and driving the car. Convicted of conspiracy, and seven counts of using a gun, her sentence imposed was 159 years. The 9th (Graber) affirms, finding that the evidence was sufficient to affirm the convictions, and bound not to find that the 924(c) gun counts were unconstitutional. In a anguished concurrence, Reinhardt cries out that mandatory sentencing is unfair, and is a "broken system" that is shocking to the conscience. He calls on Congress to amend such stringent laws. Reinhardt also makes the point that the prosecutor held all the cards, and decided to prosecute this case aggressively even though the defendant was clearly less culpable than the principal and clearly mentally ill. The codefendant and principal actor got a sentence of only 32 years. The defendant's mental illness led her not to accept a plea, and she could only say that she was guilty of being "stupid." Reinhardt asks the judges be allowed to be judges.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was the aiding and abetting the 924(c) upheld? There's no evidence she aided and abetted the use of the gun specifically, as opposed to just the robbery generally? This is a radical departure from prior 924(c) aiding and abetting law.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 1:10:00 AM  

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