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December 18, 2006

My friendly efforts in Claiborne and Rita

As noted here, the first sets of briefs were filed in Claiborne and Rita, the SCOTUS Booker reasonableness cases to be argues in February.  I had the good fortune to be involved in some amicus briefing; here are the primary fruits of my efforts:

1.  Working with a terrific set of lawyers, I helped develop a pair of briefs in support of petitioners on behalf of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.  As detailed in this webpage (which has links to the briefs in Claiborne here and Rita here), as part of the amicus effort, "NYCDL compiled and analyzed a database of 1,515 post-Booker reasonableness review cases," which documented "that the courts of appeals have affirmed nearly all within- and above-guidelines sentences while reversing nearly all below-guidelines sentences appealed by the government." 

2.  Working from some of my scholarly writings, I helped put together a joint brief for a group of law professors who study sentencing reform.  This brief is available at this link, and here is how it begins (along with some great quotes from Judge Marvin Frankel and Professor Norval Morris):

A set of long-standing federal sentencing principles should inform the Court's resolution of these cases.  These are principles that find expression in the writings of Judge Marvin Frankel and Professor Norval Morris, two leading advocates of reform proposals that resulted in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. These are principles that animate provisions of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and the PROTECT Act of 2003, especially the detailed sentencing instructions Congress has set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  These are principles that have been emphasized by this Court in rulings from Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361 (1989), to Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81 (1996), to United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005).

These principles recognize the critical importance of judicial sentencing discretion and suggest the touchstone of federal sentencing should be district courts exercising reasoned judgment in response to case-specific factors and broader norms established by the Constitution and Congress.

December 18, 2006 at 11:25 PM | Permalink


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