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September 20, 2004

More great WSJ coverage of our administative system of justice

Of course, I have long had a warm spot in my heart for WSJ reporter Laurie Cohen and the Wall Street Journal (especially since they did this profile of this blog). But the coverage they Cohen and Gary Fields of the WSJ give of the federal sentencing system today merits an extra loud shout out. In addition to the terrific article on the humans lives in the Blakely balance discussed here, the WSJ also today has a fantastic piece entitled "Federal Sentencing Changes Could Strain Probation System" about the place of the probation officers in the federal sentencing system and concerns about the impact of Blakely on their role and responsibilities.

Both WSJ articles are so rich with information that they merit multiple reads, and neither can be succinctly summarized. Nevertheless, one telling line in the probation officers' article merits quoting here:

[I]t would be hard to overstate the importance of probation officers' investigations in the length of federal sentences. Often sentences are "based almost exclusively on the information in the pre-sentencing report," [New Mexico's US Chief District] Judge Martha Vazquez says.

Both WSJ articles are so important not only because they provide a human perspective on all the legal debates surrounding Blakely, but also because they dramatically reinforce the realities of how "administrative" the federal system of criminal justice has become. I hope to be able to post at length later today about the contrasting realities of an adversarial and an administrative criminal justice system.

September 20, 2004 at 01:50 PM | Permalink


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I continue to marvel at the scope and depth
of your comments on Blakely - and I can only hope that some of the Supremes take the time to read some of your incredibly illuminating comments on one of the most complex topics undertaken by the Court in decades.

Peter Schmidt

Posted by: Peter Schmidt | Sep 20, 2004 5:51:50 PM

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