High Court Ruling Exposes Sentencing Guideline Paradox

By Jody Godoy (March 6, 2017, 10:59 PM EST) -- The U.S. Supreme Court said defendants can no longer challenge the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as unconstitutionally vague in a ruling attorneys say nixed a possible defense and exposed contradictions between the guidelines in theory and in practice.

The court's ruling on Monday in U.S. v. Beckles said defendants cannot argue that a sentencing guideline is so vaguely worded as to violate the defendant's constitutional right to due process. The opinion explained that the guidelines are merely advisory and that judges hold the final authority, making the guidelines immune to such challenges.

Anne Voigts, who represented the government in criminal appeals for 10...

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