News & Insights

Sher Tremonte Files Brief in Supreme Court on Important Sentencing Issue in the Case of Rod Blagojevich

On Monday, December 4, 2017, Sher Tremonte LLP filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, based at the New York University School of Law. The brief was filed in support of Petitioner Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, who was convicted of various offenses stemming from the appointment of a Senator in the seat vacated by former President Barack Obama. At his sentencing, Blagojevich argued that the 168-month sentence urged by the Government would result in an unwarranted disparity between him and other public officials charged with similar misconduct, who had been sentenced much more leniently. The trial court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to consider this argument because his sentence was within the range recommended under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which themselves attempt to account for sentencing disparities among similarly-situated defendants. In its amicus brief, Sher Tremonte argued that the Court should adopt the view of the majority of courts of appeals, which holds that a court must address all factors relevant to sentencing regardless of whether the sentence ultimately imposed is within the Sentencing Guidelines. That view, the brief argued, is consistent with the goals of fairness and uniformity in sentencing, in addition to the relevant congressional statute and Supreme Court precedent. The Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at NYU Law is dedicated to defining and promoting good government practices in the criminal justice system through academic research, litigation, and formulating public policy. The amicus brief filed on its behalf was authored by partners Justin M. Sher and Michael Tremonte, associate and pro bono coordinator Noam Biale, and associate Emily Burgess.