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December 31, 2009

The Heinz sentencing year: 2009 all about anticipation...

Ketchup For my last post of 2009, I will recap the year in sentencing by showing my age and referencing the classic Heinz ketchup ads with the Carly Simon song "Anticipation."  Specifically, my basic take on 2009 as a year in sentencing is that nothing all that dramatic, dynamic or consequential happened, but a lot of potentially dramatic, dynamic or consequential events have been teed up for 2010.  

For example, the Supreme Court has granted cert and/or heard argument on an array of very significant sentencing cases on issues ranging from the constitutionality of juve LWOP to the reach and application of Blakely and Booker, ranging from the effect of defense lawyer’s wrong advice on the collateral consequences of a guilty plea to various challenges to various new federal sex offender laws.  But there really was not a major landmark SCOTUS sentencing ruling in 2009, so we all await the fireworks from the Justices in 2010.

Similarly, Congress was full of talk of sentencing reform.  Senator Jim Webb rolled out a bill for creating a special commission to study mass incarceration and related sentencing issues in a comprehensive fashion, and other federal bills addressed in more limited ways a various important crime and punishment topics.  And yet, none of these bills seemed to get particularly close to passage despite a political environment that would seem to present a special opportunity for legislative reforms.  Still, the stage seems set for some movement on some legislative fronts, perhaps starting with the crack/powder disparity, in 2010.

Likewise, both the US Sentencing Commission and the US Department of Justice were engaged in a long-term review and reassessment of modern federal sentencing realities.  Neither institutional player rolled out any major reform proposal in 2009, but it seems possible (and perhaps likely) that both will move forward in some new (and perhaps bold) new directions in 2010. 

In the arena of the death penalty, the biggest 2009 development might have been the slight uptick in the number of execution and Ohio's successful adoption of a new one-drug lethal injection protocol.  But it won't be until 2010 that we get to see if Ohio's path-breaking will lead a march by other states on a new execution path.

Regular readers may recall my series of posts at the start of 2009 wondering what might the year have in store for: executive clemency and the federal judiciary and its criminal caseload and the death penalty in the US and punishment theory and incarceration rates and Second Amendment jurisprudence and sex offender law and policy and drug sentencing law and policy and the US Sentencing Commission.  As suggested above, I think the answer has been "not much."  But I think a whole lot may be in store for 2010.  And, assuming health and happiness in the year ahead, I hope and expect to cover all the action in this space.

Happy 2010 to everyone!

December 31, 2009 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

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Comments

2010. All bad news for crime victims.

More decisions imposing phony, bogus procedure, government thug make work, for no apparent reason. More growth of government, a wholly owned subsidiary of the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession, whose sole validation is at the point of a gun. The crime of lawyer rent seeking will kill more people in its takeover of health care than all other crimes, suicides, car crashes. Death panels will come close to terminating as many sick people as the Supreme Court does in terminating viable babies.

Eventually, a terror attack will work, a small one such as taking out an airplane or slaughtering people in a place. It will not be big enough to generate restraints of the internally treasonous lawyer profession. A major attack will take place before Obama leaves office. He will have to be removed, and a threat to 1776 will follow.

The trial of KSM will be a hilarious circus, except to the victims of 9/11 and their families. It will generate $100 million in lawyer rent, which is its only true purpose. It will be called a North Korea grade show trial by Muslims. They will be correct, since KSM is not a criminal, but a dedicated combatant for his cause. He should be privately executed as a combatant.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 1, 2010 9:30:36 AM

2010. There will be more forfeitures on pretextual grounds, to supplement the loss of tax revenue.

See the review here.

http://reason.com/blog/2009/12/04/cash-strapped-police-departmen

And there is no viable recourse. Thank the thievin' lawyer.

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It will generate $100 million in lawyer rent, which is its only true purpose. It will be called a North Korea grade show trial by Muslims. They will be correct, since KSM is not a criminal, but a dedicated combatant for his cause. He should be privately executed as a combatant.

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