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September 21, 2004

More Blakely-related events of note

As previously noted here, the Heritage Foundation today conducted an event entitled "Federal Criminal Sentencing: Where Are We and Where Do We Go Next?". An attendee colorfully described the event as "mostly blood pressure raising stuff for a defense guy." You can see what this means at this link, where a webcast of the event is archived.

In addition, Professor Len Orland of the University of Conneticu Law School report that tomorrow evening (Sept 22) from 5:45pm to 7:45pm, he will be moderating a panel entitled "Federal Sentencing —An Impending Crisis?" for the Federal Bar Council at the SDNY Courthouse. On the panel are heavy-hitters including USS Commissioner/Judge Ruben Castillo, SDNY US Judge Gerard Lynch, Former EDNY US Attorney Alan Vinegrad and D Conn. US Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor.

September 21, 2004 at 09:57 PM | Permalink


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I attended this very enlightening event. The most interesting aspect--a colorable defense of the Judge Martin "Bizarro" brief. At least two of the panelists suggested that it was intended to convince the Supreme Court to reinstate Koon-type discretion on the theory that, with it, the guidelines could survive. Thus, the strategy goes, we would end up with something that would be better than the unknown alternative.

I agree that this could be the explanation, although I recall that the brief dealt with the discretion-stripping aspect of the Feeney amendment only in a footnote (and said it wasn't before the Court), so it's hard fully to embrace the notion that this was the intended thrust of the brief.

Plus, I agree with one panelist's observation that if this was its objective, perhaps Judge Martin wasn't the best choice to be the spokesperson.

As long as I have the floor, my own thought on the be-careful-what-you-wish-for school of thought is that even with Koon, I didn't think the guidelines were a particularly fair or desirable system. I'm willing to gamble on the Supreme Court overruling Harris if pushed too far--if Congress adopts the Bowman proposal or enacts some other type of draconian quick fix. If that happens, the power to manage sentencing will end up fully back in the courts, where I believe it belongs (even if it results in a true, judicially-created and controlled, sentencing commission).

Posted by: Alex E. | Sep 24, 2004 12:56:58 AM

P.S. The event I attended was the one chaired by Len Orland.

Posted by: Alex E. | Sep 24, 2004 12:58:39 AM

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