Millennium Bomber’s Sentence Again Thrown Out as Federal Courts Bicker
ced Ressam to 22 years in prison — about a third of the sentence called for in federal guidelines.
In February 2010, a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that Coughenour’s sentence was too lenient, sending it back to district court with orders that a different judge apply the federal guidelines, which would result in a sentence of 65 years.
But the district court reaffirmed Coughenour’s original sentence of 22 years. The tit-for-tat ruling Monday was by the full appeals court, which voted 7-4 to send the case back yet again.
The appeals court acknowledged that its order was unusual, saying Coughenour had wide discretion in passing sentence because of Ressam’s cooperation with the U.S. government. But that “does not mean anything goes,” appeals Judge Richard R. Clifton wrote Monday in declaring the sentence “substantively unreasonable.”