Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Davies v. Benov (9th Cir. - May 17, 2017)

The Ninth Circuit says today:

"We've got some good news, and we've got some bad news.  Bad news first.  You filed a habeas petition over your 5-year prison sentence for drug violations, claiming that an appropriations rider passed by Congress prevents the U.S. from spending money to incarcerate you for growing medical marijuana in compliance with California law.  The district court denied your petition, and we're not letting you out either.  You waived your right to any challenge as part of your plea deal.  Shucks for you.

Here's the good news, though.  You're almost done with your sentence anyway.  You're currently scheduled to be released on August 9, 2017.  That's less than three months away.  So your loss today isn't really a huge one.  And, just to help you, we tried to decide this thing as quickly as we could, including issuing our published opinion only 62 days after oral argument.  Trust us:  It usually takes much more time than that.  So we at least tried to do you a solid there.  And maybe, for some future person who didn't waive his right to challenge his sentence, we'll actually decide whether you're right on the merits.

So sorry about the bad news, but take solace in the fact that you're a free man in 90 days regardless."

The actual opinion isn't as forthright, but I think that's a positive spin on the thing that's not too far off from reality.