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Friday, September 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Modest Sentences Likely On Lesser Convictions Sentencing Guidelines Would Probably Lead To 5- To 7-Year Terms

Three North Idaho men probably face five to seven years in prison for the conspiracy, car theft and weapons charges they were convicted of Wednesday.

Sentencing for Charles Barbee, Robert Berry and Verne Jay Merrell is scheduled for June 30. But it likely will be postponed after prosecutors announce plans to take the men to trial a second time on bombing and robbery charges.

A second trial likely would occur in late May or June.

If the men had been convicted of all the crimes, they would have faced life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

The conspiracy conviction carries a maximum of five years in prison.

The two counts of interstate transportation of stolen vehicles carry maximum 10-year terms.

For possessing unregistered firearms and hand grenades, the maximum term is 10 years.

Maximum terms are rarely handed out in U.S. District Court because judges must follow federal sentencing guidelines.

Those guidelines establish uniform sentencing ranges for all crimes, so defendants in various parts of the country get equal punishment for the same crimes.

Federal probation officers use a complicated formula to calculate the sentencing range for each defendant. The calculations take into account an individual’s previous criminal convictions, acceptance of responsibility and seriousness of the offense.

If a judge sentences a person to a term less than or greater than the sentencing range, the sentence is subject to automatic review by an appeals court. Thus, judges rarely impose a sentence outside the range.

, DataTimes

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