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January 19, 2006

The joys of Debate Club

As I had hoped, the Legal Affairs' Debate Club is again proving to be a fruitful environment for developing a number of interesting post-Booker ideas.  Professor Frank Bowman and I both now have numerous extended entries up at this link, and I hope readers with any reactions might use the comments to this post as a forum for further debate.

January 19, 2006 at 11:24 AM | Permalink


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The advisory Guidelines are worse than the pre-Guideline days because there is no parole board to review sentences, all prisoners do more than 85% of their sentence. The best system is one in which a criminal defendant is able to know the sentence he may be facing by calculating a narrow range based on the indictment. Disparity will continue as long as arbitrary fact findings are made post verdict. I would prefer Justice Stevens system in Booker dissent to Part II, with the Sixth Amendment applied to a mandatory guideline system. A pre-plea PSI would then provide defendants with knowledge necessary to enter knowing pleas and plea bargaining would again represent a two-way street. Advisory guidleines are the old system without the safety net. Courts should look first to protect Constitutional rights of proof beyond a reasonable doubt before increasing punishment by amending the jury's verdict.
Scrap the Advi"sorry" guidelines and let everyone know from the indictment the narrow range of possible punishment.

Posted by: Barry Ward | Jan 19, 2006 12:20:15 PM

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