An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge warned recently that the appellate court may be creating unconstitutional sentencing precedents that violate the spirit of last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Booker, which gave judges discretion to shape reasonable sentences.

Nationally, circuits have been grappling with how much leeway to give trial judges in fashioning sentences that are either more or less lenient than the traditional guideline range established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

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