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Federal appeals court allows inmates to challenge sentences

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that federal inmates in western states within its jurisdiction may challenge their sentences. The case, United States v. Ameline [opinion], follows the US Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in United States v. Booker [opinion] where the high court ruled that federal judges were not required to conform to the sentencing guidelines set down by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 [backgrounder]. In a 7-4 split decision the appeals court held that new sentences may not be required in all cases, but judges must revisit sentences and are similarly free to depart from mandatory sentencing guidelines. The Ninth Circuit ruling follows holdings in some other circuits but not others, setting the stage for another possible Supreme Court case. AP has more.

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