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September 23, 2006

A new day dawning at the USSC?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of moderating a terrific panel on Booker at the biennial convention of the The Just The Beginning Foundation.  As is always the case, I learned a lot from hearing a set of impressive practitioners assess the post-Booker world.  But the panel was especially exciting because US Sentencing Commission Vice-Chair Ruben Castillo shared news about the USSC's priorities for the coming year.

Judge Castillo reported that the USSC officially voted on their priorities at its public meeting Thursday of this past week.  According to Judge Castillo, the USSC plans to work this year (1) on a crack fix, (2) on relevant and acquitted conduct rules, (3) on criminal history issues, and (4) on a broad guideline simplification project.  Though I will restrain my excitement until I see the official list of priorities published by the USSC, Judge Castillo's report suggests to me that the USSC now appreciates that it can and should (indeed, must) be more proactive in improving the guidelines if it wants the guidelines to remain a central part of the post-Booker sentencing universe.

September 23, 2006 at 08:54 AM | Permalink


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Wow! That's the best news that I have heard in a while. There are some very sharp people on the USSC right now, including Judge Castillo, and once they begin engaging with these important issues the least we will get is a worthwhile discussion at the highest levels. I just hope that those discussions, at least in part, are done through public hearings involving practitioners and others.

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