United States v. Ballard, No. 09-0978-cr (2d Cir. Aug. 4, 2010) (found here)
Remember Zachary Ballard? Judge Rakoff imposed a 601 month sentence. But he had some sharp words for the mandatory minimum sentencing schemes that caused him to be required to impose that sentence.
Well, Ballard appealed. And the Second Circuit affirmed. In doing so, though, it expressed some sympathy for Ballard's plight:
The district court was clearly conflicted by the sentence it gave to Ballard. The court opened its opinion and order denying Ballard's motion for resentencing by stating, "The distorting effects of mandatory minimum sentences are never more evident than in the case of defendant Zachary Ballard," United States v. Ballard, 599 F. Supp. 2d 539, 539 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), and closed by stating, "When the letter of the law so far departs from justice as to become the instrument of brutality, common sense should call a halt," id. at 543. We are not unsympathetic to the concerns raised below. That said, we see no error in the sentence as it complied precisely with Title 18 and the law of this circuit.