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November 20, 2005

Dead Booker walking?: an introduction

Comments at recent Booker events in Chicago and Houston once again gave me the cold feeling that congressional action in response to Booker is all but inevitable.  As previously detailed in posts here and here, the beltway buzz is that both the House and the Senate may jump into Booker action come the one-year anniversary of the Booker decision.  (I sort of imagine a giant cake being rolled onto the House floor on January 12, out of which will jump AG Alberto Gonzales holding the Booker fix minimum guidelines bill that the Justice Department wants enacted.)

In anticipation of the brewing Booker fix debate, I am starting a series of posts under the title "Dead Booker walking?".  The goal of this series is to explore, one by one, the arguments which might be made in support of new sentencing legislation in response to Booker.  In this introduction, I have assembled below the concerns expressed by AG Alberto Gonzales when calling for a legislative "Booker fix" in a speech this past summer (basics here, commentary here and here and here). 

Chief arguments/reasons for a Booker fix

  1. Concerns about "increasing disparity in sentences"
  2. Concerns about "a drift toward lesser sentences"
  3. Concerns about "key witnesses [being] increasingly less inclined to cooperate with prosecutors"
  4. Concerns about defendants "receiving sentences dramatically lower than the guidelines range without any explanation, or on the basis of factors that could not be considered under the guidelines"
  5. The need to "secure a system of tougher, fairer, and greater justice for all"

In subsequent "Dead Booker walking?" posts in the coming weeks, I hope to explore each of these issues one-by-one.  In the meantime, I encourage readers to use the comments to suggest other arguments or reasons for a Booker fix beyond those which have been articulated in AG Gonzales' speeches.

November 20, 2005 at 08:10 PM | Permalink

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