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January 2, 2005

Sunday's stimulating sentencing stories

After reading about all the bowl games in the sports pages — how 'bout that Rose Bowl — there are a number of thought-provoking articles in today's newspapers:

  • Emily Bazelon has this interesting essay entitled "Sentencing by the Numbers" in the New York Times Magazine, which thoughtfully discusses Virginia's fascinating and controversial risk-assessment sentencing that encourage "judges to sentence nonviolent offenders the way insurance agents write policies, based on a short list of factors with a proven relationship to future risk." (As detailed here, the Federal Sentencing Reporter recently devoted a full issue to risk assessment, and Grits for Breakfast here has some thoughtful comments on the Times article.)

  • This article thoughtfully reviews the state of the death penalty in Louisiana, as well as nationwide death penalty developments in 2004.  I was surprised and intrigued to learn that Louisiana has not executed anyone since 2001 and that "Orleans Parish counted its seventh year without a single death sentence, despite ample opportunity [because the local DA seeks the death penalty in every first-degree murder case] and a high murder rate."  UPDATE: And, thanks to TalkLeft here, I see that the Washington Post has this editorial applauding the recent declines in the use of the death penalty.

  • And, thanks to How Appealing, from South Carolina we get this article about the juvenile death penalty in that state, as well as a set of companion stories (linked here), which details the potential impact of the Supreme Court's coming constitutional ruling in Roper on the juvenile death penalty (background here and here).

January 2, 2005 at 10:10 AM | Permalink


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The Bazelon piece is interesting but awfully pro-prediction (despite the presence of Prof. Robinson's quote). As FSR notes, the issue is much more complicated. By the way, what was Prof. Epstein -- not a criminal law/sentencing person -- doing in that article??

Posted by: hmmm@hmmm.com | Jan 2, 2005 11:15:52 AM

Yes indeed, how about that Rose Bowl?! Hook 'em, baby!

Posted by: Scott | Jan 2, 2005 11:20:51 AM

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