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February 5, 2008

Helping the federal judiciary (but not private lawyers) with crack retroactivity

A self-described "friend of the blog" sent me the following e-mail:

I thought that you might be interested in the programs that the Federal Judicial Center is developing for the District Courts. The e-mail announcing the programs is set out below. I believe all of the programs are accessible only through the judiciary's intranet website or TV network.

To All District and Magistrate Judges:  I am pleased to announce the availability of three Center initiatives that may be helpful in applying the new Sentencing Guideline pertaining to crack cocaine convictions.

1. An FJC Online web resource: the Crack Cocaine Retroactivity Guideline Information Exchange.  The Federal Judicial Center is providing this resource in response to the need for a central location for judges, chief probation officers, district court clerks, senior staff attorneys, and federal defenders to share information and resources concerning policy, practical application, and local procedural issues.  You can search the Exchange by topic, add your own topics, pose questions, and offer answers to others.  Links to relevant websites are included.  You can also post documents and reference materials. The Exchange is also available through the FJC Online home page at http://cwn.fjc.dcn.

2. An FJTN broadcast, Using BOP Sentry Reports to Evaluate Sentencing Reductions, a 30-minute live program on Thursday, February 7, at 1:00 p.m. EST.

3. An FJTN broadcast, Sentencing in Federal Courts: Applying Gall, Kimbrough, and the New Cocaine Guidelines, which has been rescheduled to debut on February 27 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

E-mails announcing the availability of the Exchange and the FJTN broadcasts have been sent to chief probation officers, district court clerks, senior staff attorneys, and federal defenders.

Barbara Rothstein, Director, Federal Judicial Center

Of course, I am pleased to see so may efforts afoot to help with implementing the new crack guidelines.  But I am disappointed (and getting grumpy) that private attorneys and academics and other non-federal-employees (like me) are being shut out from these significant resources.

February 5, 2008 at 10:52 AM | Permalink


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This information should be made available to anyone who at least has a PACER/RACER account. I share my template with the FPD; I give my motions to them. I remember two pleadings I drafted following Apprendi found their way into many-a-postconviction-motion. It is only fair then, that we --being the other side of the legal community-- that we have some access, and at this point even watered-down access would be better than no access at all. Mr. B., why can't you get a special waiver. There are enough FPDs visiting your site to make you a resource. Indeed, you have been cited and quoted in dozens of judicial rulings. You are a positive impact upon the judiciary and your views are generally supported by myself, my staff and any corporation I control at the time. Some day perhaps you will call upon me, a master brief writer, to put together an action or cause that most people would be without substance to undertake. We appreciate your valued efforts, Mr. B.


Posted by: Ronald Humphreys | Feb 5, 2008 1:56:03 PM

I need help with a friends case he is presently incarcerated and has no council but the new crack law applies to him!

Posted by: Lamonica | Jun 8, 2008 4:19:59 PM

Please Email me if you can help my friend who presenly has no attorney he is incarcerated Thanks Lamonica

Posted by: [email protected] | Jun 8, 2008 4:22:44 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB