Several weeks ago I commented on Ed Lazarus’s FindLaw column, in which he discussed the “momentous” decision of U.S. v. Booker. Lazarus was critical of those who describe the decision as “momentous,” stating that judges, despite their newfound discretion, would generally adhere to the guidelines. I disagreed stating that whenever people get a new tool(or toy) they tend to use it.
Tom Kirkendall, of Houston’s Clear Thinker’s, posts about U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein’s decision to use his newfound discretion.
In his order, Judge Werlein concluded that, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Booker, the sentencing jury finding that the Nigerian Barge transaction cost Enron investors $13.7 million is not binding on the court. Judge Werlein is scheduled to sentence the five defendants that were convicted in the Nigerian Barge case in March.
Lazarus believed that the only significant differences would be that lesser crimes would be given probation rather than the mandatory short prison sentences. However, what Lazarus failed to see was the outrage many had with the egregious sentencing. It wasn’t the minor insignificant cases that were the problem but rather the extreme mandatory sentencing that occured.