Friday, January 21, 2005

Sentence Reversed and Remanded

United States v. David H. Swanson, Case No. 03-1863 (01/07/2005): Just days before the Supreme Court decided Booker, the Seventh Circuit reversed a sentence that was based on an inapplicable version of the Guidelines. The Seventh Circuit also reversed and remanded an order of restitution and an order of forfeiture. The government did not present any reasoned basis for the amounts of restitution that the district court entered. "It is not our responsibility to root through the thousands of pages that make up the record in this case. . ." in order to calculate a proper amount of restitution; instead, the government has the obligation to identify specific restitution obligations and to provide a reasoned basis for a proposed restitution order. Nor did the PSR's repetition of the government's summary conclusions provide any support for the district court's order. The Seventh Circuit also fleshed out what it means for property to be forfeitable as a result of being "involved" in the offense. The defendant's company made substantial purchases, from which he siphoned off much lesser sums of money. The district court entered a forfeiture of the entire purchase price, even though his company received value from the transactions. Instead, the court should have forfeited no more than his gain from the siphoned funds.