Thursday, April 17, 2014

US v. Odachyan, No. 11-50253 (4-17-14)(Clifton with Dorsey, D.J.; concurrence by Reinhardt). 

How far does a judge have to go to evidence bias at sentencing?  Here, the court approached the line in sentencing when talking about immigrants and future crimes.   The defendant here was an Armenian immigrant who pled guilty to health care fraud.  At sentencing, the court stated that he was inclined to the high end of the guideline; and that he was amazed at immigrants who come to this country, seeking a better life, and then engaged in crime, and when caught, try to use their terrible past as an excuse or mitigation.  The 9th does not find that the statement reflected such a high degree of favoritism or antagonism to call into question fairness.  The statement here was in response to the defendant's argument referring to his past as mitigation.  At most, it demonstrated frustration with the type of argue.  Reinhardt, concurring, writes about the improper nature of the statement, even if it does not rise to the unconstitutional level.


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