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Legal analyst and defense lawyer Scott H. Greenfield said he disagrees with the practice of acquitted-conduct sentencing, but, like Mr. Otis, he questioned whether the Supreme Court would revisit the issue.

“It’s one of those little spots in the law where you’ve got a bad answer, but you’ve got your answer,” Mr. Greenfield said. “You can’t keep coming back.

“God bless our court, they say it’s fine.”

Meanwhile, legal observers are awaiting a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in the case of U.S. v. White, a case that raises acquitted conduct questions.

“It’s a bad policy,” said Amy Baron-Evans, National Sentencing Resource Counsel for the Federal Public and Community Defenders, a branch of the federal court system that represents indigent defendants.

Ms. Baron-Evans said it’s not clear whether the Supreme Court will revisit the issue. But she said she and other critics of acquitted conduct sentencing have asked the U.S. Sentencing Commission to eliminate the practice. The commission establishes sentencing policies for the federal courts.

“Most judges have lost faith in the commission to do anything, and so they see the Supreme Court as the only way to bring about change. … But it’s the commission that ought to make the change.”