Wednesday, September 06, 2006

U.S. v. Washington (9th Cir. - Sept. 6, 2006)

It's almost like a bad joke. Eric Washington gets convicted of bank robbery. He's got no priors as an adult, so (under the guidelines) he's looking at 41-51 months in prison. But the district court includes his juvie priors to increase his criminal history to category V, which results in a sentence of 77-96 months.

What are the juvenile convictions for, you might ask? Why does he get 3+ extra years in prison? Well, for, among other things, stealing candy from a baby. Or, more accurately, stealing candy from fellow children when Washington was nine years old.

Judge Hug, however, says: "Uh, I think not." If only because you don't have a right to a jury trial in juvenile court. So he remands for resentencing. (Plus, throwing someone in the clink for an extra three years because, among other things, they stole candy from children when they were nine years old seems totally harsh.)

Still. Stealing candy from a baby. It reads like an absurd law school hypothetical. And yet it's all too real.