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November 25, 2004

Giving thanks

I plan to resume usual blogging Friday and through the holiday weekend, but my Thanksgiving day is going to be devoted principally to family, food and football (though not always in that order).  However, one post today listing some (of the many) things for which I am thankful seemed appropriate.  So, counting down, here's a personal Top 10 list of thanks-inducing realities in my world:

10.  I am thankful violent and property crime rates, according to government data, are at their lowest levels since we began surveying criminal victimization in 1973.  Though the reasons for low crime rates and the costs/benefits of mass incarceration are widely debated, everyone should be happy about crime reductions.

9.  I am thankful the Supreme Court's decision in Blakely has engendered a robust (and overdue) national dialogue on sentencing law, policy, procedures and practices.  The Blakely earthquake has led courts, lawyers, policy-makers and the media to examine the rules and realities of sentencing like never before and not a moment too soon.

8.  I am thankful that shining a spotlight on injustices — as the press has done quite effectively of late (examples here and here) — can still make a difference.  As detailed in this post, effective media coverage can at least sometimes prompt policy-makers to move quickly to address serious criminal justice problems.

7.  I am thankful (or at least very hopeful) that we may get a decision in Booker and Fanfan as early as next week.  The federal criminal justice system, as well as many state systems, desperately need some Blakely clarification and guidance in order to be able to become fully operative again.

6.  I am thankful that the US Sentencing Commission has released its fascinating 15-year report (basics here, highlights here), and also that the USSC now finally has a full complement of Commissioners as detailed here.  Armed with great data and a complete team, the USSC can and should take a leadership role in the immediate wake of a decision in Booker and Fanfan.

5.  I am thankful that this past week I have helped finalize final edits for the Fall 2004 issue of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.  The issue includes a great symposium on Capital Juries, which I will discuss in more detail soon.

4.  I am thankful that this past week I have helped finalize final edits for the December 2004 issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter.  I had been hopeful (though not always optimistic) that we would get this third FSR Blakely issue to press before Booker and Fanfan were decided.

3.  I am thankful that I have discovered this amazing medium for sharing perspectives on sentencing reform (often while in my pajamas), and also thankful that I have a great job at a great school which not only allows me, but actively helps me, to do my best possible work in this medium.

2.  I am thankful that I have made so many friends through this medium.  From fellow bloggers linking back and forth to the broad array of readers who have shared experiences and insights and ideas, the interpersonal connections that have been forged through this seemingly impersonal medium have been the most satisfying and meaningful parts of the whole blogging experience.

1.  I am thankful that I have people who cared for me even before I discovered the blogsphere, and especially thankful that these people continue to care for me even though I now spend probably more time than I should consumed by the blogsphere.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2004 at 12:25 AM | Permalink


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And I, for one am thankful for the information you share so easily.

Posted by: Denise | Nov 25, 2004 7:20:47 AM

And I also feel thankful for the clear thinking, well worded writing and excellent hyperlinking you provide. Reading your blog (which I came across by accident) has become an addictive daily activity which has provoked a new interest in the law and an appreciation for the stark realities facing defendants today. For instance, I know now that it is not the sympathetic judge but the sympathetic prosecutor that one should hope for (97% plea bargains?). You have brought the law and the impact of Blakely v. Wash to life for me in this blog. It also doesn't hurt that you have a good last name.

Posted by: Saxmanbob ne Robert Berman | Nov 25, 2004 3:35:23 PM


Posted by: BUC | Nov 26, 2004 7:54:29 AM

I have just read your Thanksgiving Post. I am not only thankful to be alive and an American, but I am thankful for people like you who have brought the Blakely issues to the forefront. Your next challenge should be to push for legislation to remove probation from the sentencing process. Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: rcjackpot | Nov 27, 2004 11:37:57 AM

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