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February 5, 2009

US Sentencing Commission's regional hearings to start next week

I am please to see that the US Sentencing Commission now has posted to its website this official press release and this agenda concerning its first of a series of regional hearings.  Here are the basic details from the press release:

The United States Sentencing Commission will hold in Atlanta on February 10-11, 2009, the first of a series of regional public hearings on federal sentencing policy. The Commission is holding these public hearings to gather feedback on federal sentencing practices and the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines. The regional hearings coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984....

At the hearings, the Commission expects to hear from a wide range of witnesses from across the nation, including the judiciary, law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, community interest groups, sentencing experts, and others interested in federal sentencing. The Commission is interested in any suggestions regarding changes to the Sentencing Reform Act and other relevant statutes, the federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that, in the view of the witness, will further the statutory purposes of sentencing.

As this press release suggests and as the hearing agenda highlights, the USSC seem genuinely eager to consider broadly and dynamically about how the next generation of federal sentencing law and policy should unfold.  Though the USSC has not been at the forefront of bold sentencing reforms in recent years, perhaps it is time for those troubled by federal sentencing realities to be a bit more optimistic concerning the possibility of hope and change finding expression in the USSC's coming work.

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February 5, 2009 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

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