Brief filed: 12/05/2017
Rosales-Mireles v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-9493
Decision below 850 F.3d 246 (5th Cir. Mar. 6, 2017).
To meet the standard for plain error review, is it necessary, as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held, that the error be one that would “shock the conscience of the common man, serve as a powerful indictment against our system of justice, or seriously call into question the competence or integrity of the district judge”?
The Fifth Circuit’s refusal to reverse a sentence for plain error unless the result would “shock the conscience of the common man, serve as a powerful indictment against our system of justice, or seriously call into question the competence or integrity of the district judge” conflicts squarely with this Court’s decisions. Because Guidelines calculations often involve technical determinations cloaked in legal jargon, it is easy to lose sight of the human consequences of an erroneous calculation that produces an extended prison sentence, even of a few additional months. No erroneous judicial decision that produces additional prison time – even an amount of time that may, in the abstract, strike a judge as relatively trivial – can be considered acceptable.
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