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January 22, 2008

Seeking reports from the "crack amendment retroactivity summit"

I mentioned in this post that I had heard reports of USSC involvement in seminars intended to help lawyers better understand what's going on with implementing the new crack guidelines retroactively.  Thanks to a helpful reader, I have now learned about a multi-day "Crack Amendment Retroactivity Summit" taking place in Saint Louis starting tomorrow.  The event is noted at this website, where one can find this draft agenda.

Disappointingly, I do not see any mention of this "Summit" on the US Sentencing Commission's official website, even though the draft agenda indicates that USSC staff members are playing an integral role in this event.  Moreover, the event website has this somewhat ominous note in bold type:

Please note: This Summit is limited only to Government Officials, such as Federal Judges and their Court Clerks, U.S. Attorneys and Assistants, Federal Defenders, U.S. Probation Officers, Bureau of Prisons staff, Sentencing Commission officials, Department of Justice personnel, U.S. Court Clerks or designees, and U.S. Marshals.  Proper identification will be required for registration at the hotel and attendance at the sessions.

Despite the fact that I and all other non-government officials are shut out for this summit for some reason, I am hopeful that the select group allowed to get up to speed on crack retroactivity in Saint Louis might share some of their learning (and materials) from this summit ASAP.

January 22, 2008 at 05:20 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Are federal public defenders, at least, allowed to go? If not, how the hell can that be justified? It's bad enough that every dollar spent on the DOJ is not matched to fund the federal defender's office... but to hold secret meetings for prosecutors and judges, with nobody else allowed... is just horrendous.

Posted by: bruce | Jan 23, 2008 9:22:02 AM

Are federal public defenders, at least, allowed to go?

Only the literate ones, and anyone who shows up wearing a foil hat has to leave it at the coat check. If you'll read the above post again...

Please note: This Summit is limited only to Government Officials, such as Federal Judges and their Court Clerks, U.S. Attorneys and Assistants, Federal Defenders, U.S. Probation Officers, Bureau of Prisons staff, Sentencing Commission officials, Department of Justice personnel, U.S. Court Clerks or designees, and U.S. Marshals. Proper identification will be required for registration at the hotel and attendance at the sessions

Posted by: | Jan 23, 2008 10:25:56 AM

A public defender from our district will be attending, and I assume from the other districts as well, so the defense bar will not be totally shut out.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 23, 2008 11:02:12 AM

They're staging these spectacles all around the country. There was one in Charlotte last week. An Assistant Federal Defender from my district attended along with one of our district judges, a probation officer and an AUSA.

Posted by: Fedef | Jan 23, 2008 11:41:41 AM

Oh, and not every district is invited. They're only inviting representatives from districts with the largest number of crack cases.

Posted by: Fedef | Jan 23, 2008 11:43:35 AM

What I understood is that the NC summit was for the initial crowd, one representative only from each of the offices where there are the most crack cases. I believe it was some 30 offices. The St Louis summit is an overflow of sorts, though it may be limited to the offices listed above. At this stage, it is a coming together to figure out how to properly identify qualifying defendants and how to go about getting them their time off. I believe once that is settled, there will be a more mass distribution as to how the courts will handle this. While this is going on, we are hand-pulling almost every case to determine if there are crack charges because the crack charge may be secondary to a gun charge or what-have-you. This is a big job that will take time and planning to do correctly. So that is the reason for the summits.

Posted by: | Jan 23, 2008 1:35:59 PM

The public defender from here went to the St. Louis Summit (open to All federal defenders throughout the nation, not to the top 30 districts as reported above), and can share how there were at least as many defenders as judges there. The FPD in St. Louis is Lee Lawless, and can be reached at 314-241-1255. The DOJ did not fund the Charlotte or the St. Louis Summit.

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