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April 18, 2005

Another (and different) view on the crack guidelines

One of the many interesting post-Booker developments in the district court has been the discussion of crack sentencing and the purposes of punishment in opinions from Judge Sifton in Simon (discussed here) and Judge Adelman in Smith (discussed here).  Today brings a contrasting perspective on these issues from Judge Richard Kopf in US v. Tabor, No. 4:01CR3215 (D. Neb. Apr. 18, 2005), which can be downloaded below. 

Judge Kopf a few months ago explained in Wanning (discussed here), through a sharp (and often comical) opinion, why he gives the guidelines "substantial weight even though the are now advisory."  In another sharp (and often comical) opinion in Tabor, Judge Kopf concludes "that the crack Guidelines, like all other Guidelines, should be given heavy weight after Booker."  Tabor is a must-read for a number of reasons, although prosecutors are likely to be more pleased than defense counsel with the outcome.  Because a brief summary cannot do justice to all the post-Booker sentencing aspects of Tabor, I will content myself to quote a footnote from Tabor which weighs in on a related raging legal debate:

Given the recent attacks on the federal judiciary by a few members of Congress, I sometimes wonder why I ought to care about differentiating between the proper role of judges and legislators. When I get in that pessimistic frame of mind, the long view of history persuades me that "this too shall pass" and that the work is worth the toil.  In the face of such childish complaining, there is also a certain self-satisfaction in behaving as an adult.

Download tabor_crack_opinion_from_judge_kopf.pdf

April 18, 2005 at 04:21 PM | Permalink


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Well, it looks liks the parsimony principle is dead in Nebraska. Jeez.

Posted by: JDB | Apr 19, 2005 3:16:46 PM

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