Friday, December 08, 2006

US v. Cardenas-Juarez, No. 05-30250 (12-8-06). In a significant decision regarding "safety valve," the 9th reaffirms that the "safety valve" survives Booker (Thompson joined by Nelson and Paez). If the safety valve is triggered, the court must consult the guidelines, but they are still advisory. Mandatory minimum sentences are congressional, and are not affected by Booker. The safety valve, 18 USC 3553(f), is also congressional, and is legislatively designed to give relief to less culpable offenders if requirements are met. Booker did not change this. The court erred in finding that the safety valve was only advisory. The sentence is vacated and remanded.

Congratulations to the Federal Defenders of Montana, Tony Gallagher, David Avery, and Evangelo Arvanetes.


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