Life sentences gone for ex-sheriff
ST. LOUIS (AP) – A federal appeals court has overturned the life sentences given to a former Illinois sheriff convicted of trafficking marijuana and a foiled plot to have witnesses against him killed, citing a misunderstanding by the judge in applying federal sentencing guidelines.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion issued Aug. 28 but made public last week, wrote that U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert followed the court’s pre-sentence report’s mistaken claim that under statutory sentencing guidelines life terms were the maximum possible punishment for Raymond Martin on two weapons-related convictions. Those guidelines, which federal judges use in helping determine sentences, only spell out the minimum possible punishment for those counts but don’t specifically say life behind bars is an option.
Martin, the former Gallatin County sheriff now imprisoned at a maximum-security lockup about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, still faces possible life terms during his still-unscheduled resentencing.
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