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May 19, 2011

In praise of the USSC's annual conference and its (still developing) website

Becuase I am having so much fun already at the US Sentencing Commission's annual conference (seriously!), I decided to use my lunch break to again praise/thank the USSC for inviting me to participate again and also to follow-up a comment I made during this morning's first plenary session.  Specifically, I expressed to the Commissioners this morning my appreciation for their efforts to improve the official USSC website, but then I also suggested the website could be improved further still.

Proving yet again that the USSC always welcomes constructive criticism, a member of the USSC staff asked me to consider developing a Top 10 list of possible ways to make the new USSC website even better.  (My #1 suggestion likely is to be to urge the USSC to have the text of I8 USC 3553 and other critical federal sentencing statutes readily linked (and even annotated) on its website.) 

In addition to being grateful for this chance to provide input, I thought it would be useful to ask the readership of this blog for thoughts about how the USSC website could be improved and/or expanded ito better serving not only federal practitioners, but also any and everyone else who makes regular use of the data and other materials that appear (or should be readily available) via the USSC's website.

UPDATE:  Paul in the ends of the comments provides this quite specific and therefore very helpful comment that I hope gets noticed and that I hope might prompt still more folks to chime in with details and concerns about the USSC's website:

There are places where "Topics of Interest" highlight the 2009 Sourcebook, even though the 2010 is available. Last Congressional Testimony is may 2009? The categories of "Research," "Data and Statistics," and "Publications" have substantial overlap and is confusing. Really, if you didn't know the site, where would you start to look for a statistical research report?

 

May 19, 2011 at 03:27 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I'd like to see the commission offer (even for sale) a hyperlinked and bookmarked version of the sentencing guidelines. Looking around the conference I'm seeing almost an equal number of iPads as to actual "green covered" guidelines. I have the guidelines on my iPad and the copy on the website is bookmarked for the chapters, but it would be great if the index and internal references were linked. This way it could be very useable in iBooks, or any PDF reader like GoodReader.

Posted by: Brock Benjamin | May 19, 2011 3:39:20 PM

Defense attorney.

Posted by: Brock Benjamin | May 19, 2011 3:40:47 PM

I have never been able to correctly calculate a suggested sentence. Provide tutorials to help people understand and use the guidelines. If a high school grad like me has trouble with a legal calculation it should be void, as failing to provide adequate notice.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 19, 2011 7:43:36 PM

As an owner of the law, I was not invited. I would appreciate it if Prof. Berman were to bring up a subject of interest at his plea bargaining seminar.

What if the plea is to a non-violent crime, but the defendant is extremely violent? He would be adjudicated and classified as non-violent. When a federal judge says, empty this prison of non-violent offenders, because their crowding violates the Eighth Amendment, accoriding to his personal preference. This extremely violent offender gets to walk out. \

What solution does the panel on plea bargaining have to offer as a remedy?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 20, 2011 12:52:13 AM

I would like special circumstances involving sentencing sex offenders be introduced, especially with regard to registration requirements following not just incarceration, but release itself from the judicial system.

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 20, 2011 11:36:37 AM

There are places where "Topics of Interest" highlight the 2009 Sourcebook, even though the 2010 is available. Last Congressional Testimony is may 2009? The categories of "Research," "Data and Statistics," and "Publications" have substantial overlap and is confusing. Really, if you didn't know the site, where would you start to look for a statistical research report?

Posted by: Paul | May 20, 2011 12:03:42 PM

I second Paul's comments and would add that sometimes it takes an abnormally long time for PDFs to download from the site.

Posted by: def atty | May 20, 2011 1:45:55 PM

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