U.S. District Judge Judith N. Keep threw out the new federal sentencing guidelines Friday, becoming the third judge in the Southern District of California to find the guidelines unconstitutional.
Keep adopted the 22-page opinion of U.S. District Judge Rudi M. Brewster, who last week ruled that the structure of the commission that drew up the guidelines violates the separation of powers provisions of the Constitution.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission was set up by Congress in 1984 as an independent body within the judicial branch, with its seven members appointed by the president, who can also remove them. Three of the seven members must be judges.
U.S. District Judge John S. Rhoades also has found the guidelines unconstitutional. The district’s four other judges, as well as the senior judges, have yet to rule on the issue.