A federal appeals court upheld a trial judge’s decision to impose a 10-year, rather than 30-year, sentence on a defendant convicted of selling crack cocaine.
The decision, issued today by the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, resulted in four separate opinions and led a dissenting judge to charge his colleagues for failing to conduct a meaningful review of the case before it.
The majority said the sentencing judge, Charles A. Shaw, of the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, adequately explained his reasons for departing from the sentence recommended for Kendrix D. Feemster under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The U.S. Probation Office recommended that Feemster be sentenced as a career offender, which resulted in a Guideline range of 30 years to life in prison.
Shaw imposed a 10-year sentence followed by eight years of supervised release, citing as reasons for the downward departure that Feemster was 26, and still relatively young, when he committed the crack cocaine offense, that he didn’t carry a weapon when he committed this crime or others that preceded it, and that he completed two terms of probation.
The case is U.S. v. Feemster, 06-2059.
Read more on this story in Tuesday’s papers.