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December 26, 2007

Thinking about the top sentencing stories for 2007

Over at TalkLeft, Jeralyn in this post rightly takes Time magazine to task for this extraordinarily lame  list of the top 10 crime stories of 2007.  Of course, this got me thinking about the top sentencing stories of 2007, and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities.  By any measure, 2007 has been an amazing sentencing year, and I am not sure how to rank the significance of all these events:

  • New USSC reduced crack guidelines
  • USSC decision to to make its new guidelines retroactive
  • Supreme Court's post-Booker decisions in Rita and then Gall and Kimbrough
  • The "celebrity" sentencings of Conrad Black, Paris Hilton, Lewis Libby and Michael Vick
  • Commutation of Lewis Libby's sentence by President Bush
  • Hub-bub and eventually striking down of Genarlow Wilson's mandatory sentence
  • Continued hub-bub over the former border agent's mandatory sentences
  • California and other states' on-going struggles with its prison over-crowding problems
  • Sex offender GPS tracking become more common and thus more costly
  • Georgia state supreme court striking down state's sex offender residency restriction
  • Heightened debate over child rape as a death-eligible offense
  • Abolition of the death penalty in New Jersey
  • De facto moratorium on executions as a result of Baze case before the Supreme Court

I have listed the death penalty stories last because they likely impact the fewest defendants, even though they tend to get the most media attention.  Readers are, of course, encouraged to note in the comments any other big stories I missed in this quick list.

December 26, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink


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Mike Nifong getting only 1 day in jail.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Dec 26, 2007 12:48:06 PM

"I have listed the death penalty stories last because they likely impact the fewest defendants, even though they tend to get the most media attention."

Not from Time, apparently. There isn't a single capital case on their list.

In rare agreement with Talk Left, I concur that the list is "woefully inadequate".

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Dec 26, 2007 4:57:57 PM

Again, Bush's decision was a clemency decision, not a sentencing decision. The sentencing decision was made by the judge, and was in some distinction to the probation department.

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Dec 27, 2007 1:00:33 PM

I am an advocate for prison reform and would enjoy subscribing to your blog.....

Posted by: Carol Leonard | Dec 29, 2007 10:05:30 AM

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