Friday, March 02, 2007

U.S. v. Seaton (9th Cir. - March 2, 2007)

It seems to me like Judge Beezer's got a point.

Guy Seaton was convicted of six counts of Medicare fraud way back in 2002. He was sentenced to 78 months in prison in April 2004. He got the district court to initially stay his sentence pending the various challenges to the sentencing guidelines, and then in 2005 got the Ninth Circuit to enter a stay after the district court said that Seaton had to surrender. Then in May 2006 Seaton loses his appeal before the Ninth Circuit, but gets the court to keep him out of prison until his petition for certiorari is denied. Which (of course) promptly happens in early January 2007.

Then Seaton writes a pro se petition saying (essentially) "Please let me keep staying out of prison because my wife is sick." But she's clearly been sick for a while; plus, he's been out of prison already for a long, long, time after his conviction.

Judge Beezer would put the guy in prison at this point. But the (unnamed) majority disagrees, and issued an unpublished order keeping him out yet again.

It seems to me like the 64-year old Seaton is just hoping he can stay out forever, or at least as long as he can. And, thus far, it's working.

I think that Judge Beezer's dissent is sufficiently compelling that I'd like to see the majority publish a response (which is what usually happens when one judge wants an unpublished disposition published). I'd very much like to see both what the equities are on the other side and how the majority balanced them.