United States v. Santiago, Criminal No. 3:02CR162 (SRU), 2007 WL 1238610 (D. Conn. April 24, 2007)
In United States v. Brennan (discussed here), Judge Weinstein of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York based consideration of state-federal disparity on novel grounds.
Specifically, Judge Weinstein found that from "the point of view of the impact of sentencing on specific and general deterrence and reducing recidivism rates, state-vertical coordination is more important than national-horizontal uniformity. The public and criminals generally consider the local federal and state courts as part of a single protective institution. Too great a disparity between state and federal prosecution and sentencing decisions will be seen by the public as creating unjustified disparities. Section 3553(a)(6) should be construed as covering disparities in state-federal as well as federal-federal comparitive sentencing."
The court in Santiago found differently. Specifically, it found upon a Crosby remand that:
the disparity in sentences among the federal courts and courts of the various states is not the disparity that the Sentencing Guidelines and 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) sought to address. If the federal courts sought to reduce disparity in sentencing with the local state courts, then sentencing disparity within the federal system would be increased; federal courts in states with strict sentencing regimes would impose stiffer sentences than federal courts in states with more lenient regimes. Both the Sentencing Guidelines and section 3553(a) seek to reduce sentencing disparity among federal courts. Although Santiago received a harsher sentence in federal court than he would have in state court, that outcome results from the exercise of prosecutorial discretion [i.e., a prosecution by federal rather than state authorities], not from any unfairness in the way he was treated in the federal system.
Two different judges. Two different views.