Thursday, March 12, 2009

U.S. v. Hilgers (9th Cir. - March 11, 2009)

Sure, Judge O'Scannlain writes the opinion, and Judge Bybee (alongside Judge Graber) is also on the panel, so it's not radically surprising that the court agreed that the district court's (fairly substantial) upward departure from the guidelines was permissible. This is not a "softie" panel.

That said, I agree with 'em. Yes, the guidelines range was 12 to 18 months. But the sentence of five years was, in my view, permissible. It's a large jump, but the defendant was a pretty big con artist with a long history of this stuff, and he (and others like him) need to be deterred.

Plus, it ain't a very good era nowadays in which to be a real estate broker fraudster. We tend to look askance at having to dump a trillion public dollars into the system.