Sentencing Michael Martin

by TChris

Federal judges have more discretion to impose reasonable sentences than they had before the Supreme Court's Booker decision, but the limits of that discretion remain unclear. We know only that federal sentences must not be "unreasonable."

Was it unreasonable to sentence Michael Martin to 7 days of incarceration? The Eleventh Circuit thinks the sentence was just as unreasonable as the original imposition of straight probation, which it reversed. District Judge U.W. Clemon is testing the limits of his discretion, and might have kept ratcheting the sentence up a week at a time if the Eleventh Circuit hadn't tossed him off the case (decision here in pdf).

Michael Martin is a former HealthSouth executive who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and mail fraud.

Prosecutors considered Martin one of the most blameworthy defendants, and his crimes, conservatively, cost investors $1.4 billion.

It's hard to understand why an executive who cheated people on a massive scale should get less time than a kid who sells a few rocks of crack. The federal sentencing guidelines advise a sentence of 108 to 135 months. The prosecution recommended 3-1/2 years to reward Martin for his belated cooperation against other members of the conspiracy.

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  • Re: Sentencing Michael Martin (none / 0) (#1)
    by Deconstructionist on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 06:53:31 AM EST
    Actually, it's easy to "understand" just hard to justify.