Seventh Circuit Review


When the United States Supreme Court instructed federal appellate courts to use a "reasonableness" standard of review following U.S. vs. Booker, a significant question remained: what role do the Federal Sentencing Guidelines play when determining whether a sentence is “reasonable”? While the Supreme Court has recently granted certiorari for this very question, the Seventh Circuit has chosen to grant sentences falling within the range provided by the Guidelines a presumption of reasonableness. In doing so, however, the court has neither provided convincing justification nor remained consistent in its application. This Comment will first trace the development of the presumption within the Seventh Circuit, consider the court’s rationales, and discuss whether a presumption of reasonableness can be harmonized with Booker’s remedial opinion and the statutory language of § 3553(a). Next, it will examine the sometimes inconsistent application of the presumption within the Seventh Circuit. Finally, this Comment will examine the upcoming Supreme Court decision and discuss its ramifications for sentencing within the Seventh Circuit.

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