United States v. Gorsuch, No. 03-2337 (1st Cir. April 19, 2005) is a case which one can reasonably see having been decided in a manner much less favorable to defendant Gorsuch. For one, the First Circuit held that the Government had forfeited its claim that a downward departure from a statutory weapons sentence was error. The Court stated:
Ordinarily, we would recognize such an error — but this is a highly unusual case. The record suggests that Gorsuch is afflicted by a grave mental illness, except for which she probably never would have committed the crimes of which she stands convicted. The record also indicates that Gorsuch had no premeditated intention of harming anyone on the day in question, and that she is likely to be a law-abiding citizen if she takes medication to control her illness. One cannot help but cringe at the seven-year consecutive prison sentence recommended in the PSI Report with respect to count two for this troubled mother of three who otherwise lacks a criminal history. We therefore conclude that recognizing this forfeited error is not necessary to ensure the integrity and fairness of Gorsuch's sentencing proceeding, and so we decline to afford such recognition to it.
This is a case involving an armed bank robbery, albeit with an unloaded semiautomatic gun. Defendant Gorsuch has a history of being admitted to mental hospitals with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.
The Court remands the case for resentencing pursuant to Booker, and with instructions that the District Court not take into account the forfeited mandatory sentence for the weapons count. This sounds like a very, very just result, at least as just as the Court of Appeals could make it given the fact of conviction.
Is it possible we are seeing a rebirth of justice in sentencing? Let us hope so!