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February 18, 2005

Highlights from the USSC hearing transcripts

The US Sentencing Commission, to its great credit, has not only the written testimony from its hearing this week linked here, but also now has up transcripts with all the live testimony.  The transcript from Tuesday afternoon is here, from Wednesday morning is here.  (And while I am giving out credit, a wise reader noted that USSC Chair Hinojosa and Judge Sim Lake used the term "vary" in their documentation memo (discussed here) the week after Blakely.  Thus, they deserve credit along with Judge Cassell for coining the term "variance" to describe post-Booker non-guideline sentences.)

The USSC hearing transcripts are very long — a total of nearly 300 pages! — but the Q&A after each panel really provides a rich addition to the written testimony  and also reveals what some of the Commissioners are thinking through.  In addition, there are 13 must-read pages from all the transcripts, appearing at the very end (pp. 137-150 of the second transcript) in the testimony of Robert McCampbell, who is the US Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and chairs the AG's Advisory Sub-Committee on Sentencing for DOJ. 

Though McCampbell's written testimony largely tracked the written testimony of Chris Wray for DOJ at the House hearing, McCampbell made a number of distinct (and extraordinarily insightful) points in his oral presentation.  In addition, through the Q&A with the Commissioners, McCampbell shed a lot of light on DOJ's biggest concerns as the post-Booker world unfolds.  This weekend I hope to do some additional commentary, based on this testimony, on what we might soon expect to see from DOJ.  In the meantime, go read those 13 pages, which McCampbell starts with this highlight:

When I read those two [Booker] opinions back to back, I have to say I was reminded of the old country-western song, "How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?"

February 18, 2005 at 03:59 AM | Permalink


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