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U.S. Judge Reduces ‘Va. Jihad’ Sentences

New Terms Still Called ‘Draconian’. A federal judge yesterday reduced the sentences of three members of a “Virginia jihad network,” ordering the resentencings to comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed judges more discretion on such issues. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema was pleased that she had the chance to lessen sentences she had criticized as excessive. The Supreme Court ruling has resulted in hundreds of cases being sent back for resentencings nationwide, and yesterday’s case — in which a group of Muslim men were convicted of training for violent jihad abroad — is perhaps the most high-profile. Brinkeman reduced defendant Seifullah Chapman’s sentence from 85 years in prison to 65 years and shaved 20 years off Masoud Khan’s sentence. She said she wanted to cut their punishments further but couldn’t because the Supreme Court ruling applied only to federal sentencing guidelines. It did not cover the separate, congressionally imposed mandatory minimum sentences for certain firearms charges that drove the two sentences to a level Brinkema again called “really draconian.” Full Story

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