January 5, 2009
Notable op-ed assails sentencing guidelines based on White acquitted conduct ruling
I was pleased and intrigued to learn from a helpful reader about this potent new op-ed from a local Kentucky paper, headlined "No safety in numbers." Here are excerpts:
The recent decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the 22-year sentence of Roger White, a getaway driver in a bank robbery, is yet another example of why it is time for Congress, and the states, to reconsider the wisdom of sentencing guidelines.....
While determinate guideline sentencing has been praised by many as a cure-all for the problem of recidivism, many others view determinate sentencing as a 20-year mistake which has done nothing more than add to the already over-burdened prison system which in many states, including Kentucky, is teetering on the verge of collapse....
Although no one wants to appear soft on crime, we have reached a point in history where we need to sit down and reconsider whether this 20-year experiment in determinate sentencing was a mistake. It is time to sit down and begin a new dialogue on sentencing, a dialogue which includes reestablishment of parole as an option to reward those who decide to use their time in prison as an opportunity for rehabilitation.
A year from now, few will remember or care about the 22-year sentence handed to Roger White as a result of the federal sentencing guidelines. In fact, with so many other problems facing our communities today, we have a justifiable excuse for not doing anything to correct the problems of determinate sentencing on the over-burdened state and federal prison systems.
However, what we need to understand is that when our prison systems finally collapse through over-crowding, a collapse which will come sooner rather than later, we will no longer have the luxury of an open dialogue aimed toward a solution. Instead, we will be left with a crisis of monumental proportions which will leave few options of how and where to incarcerate those who we truly need to be incarcerated for the safety of our communities.
Some related posts about the White case:
January 5, 2009 at 03:28 PM | Permalink
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Notably, the author of the op-ed piece, Mark Wohlander, is a former F.B.I. agent and former Asst. U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Kentucky, who finally saw the light and became a federal criminal defense lawyer in Lexington, Kentucky.
Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jan 5, 2009 9:39:35 PM