A federal appeals court panel in St. Louis has struck down sentencing guidelines used by judges across the country for 17 years. The decision involves a Minnesota mail fraud case. Sentencing guidelines call for lengthy minimum time behind bars for those convicted of certain offenses. The ruling by this three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit Court of Appeals would keep the guidelines but treat them as advisory – not mandatory. Legal experts expect the entire 8th Circuit to take up the case for review.
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