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August 27, 2008

Judge Bright gives shout out to Second Chance Act

Concurring today in US v. Wessels, No. 07-3208 (8th Cir. Aug. 27, 2008) (available here), Judge Bright gives a little attention to the Second Chance Act.  Here are snippets from his opinion:

I concur in the opinion in this case but I write separately to call attention to the Second Chance Act of 2007. Pub. L. No. 110-199, 122 Stat. 657 (April 9, 2008). In this Act, the Congress has directed a shift from policing those on parole to rehabilitating them. The parole system now bears an increasing special obligation to help federal offenders successfully reenter into society.

Any time a person serves a prison sentence, begins parole or supervised release, and then, as in this case, violates a provision of release that may justify reimprisonment, the correctional system has failed.  In making this statement, I do not mean to comment adversely on probation officers.  I do, however, call attention to this new wind that is refreshingly blowing into the correctional systems in this country.

Title II(C)(1) of the Second Chance Act aims to improve the reentry of federal offenders into society with the help of probation officers....

It is clear that the spirit of the Second Chance Act of 2007 intends that the entire penal systems, state and federal, work towards the rehabilitation of prisoners for the purpose of reducing recidivism....

The Second Chance Act of 2007 therefore revises the duties of parole and probation officers, focusing much of their attention to the rehabilitation of those who have served prison sentences. Such a recent but important development must be underscored so that the Act may change the attitudes and focus of probation from policing parolees and probationers to rehabilitating them.

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Posted by: | Aug 27, 2008 7:24:24 PM

I concur in the opinion in this case but I write separately to call attention to the Second Chance Act of 2007.

Weird. He should write an op-ed or a law review article if he's that interested in legislation that he admits has no application to the case before him.

He should have said "I concur in the opinion in this case but I write separately to call attention to the awesomeness of ninjas." Would have been a better use of the pages of F.3d.

Posted by: | Aug 28, 2008 2:30:42 PM

Maybe some of you out there in "sentencing blog land" do not know of Judge Myron Bright. This person is the most distinguished Judge that I have met and is a wonderful person. His book, "Objections At Trial" authored with Ron Carlson, is excellant. I just read the opinion and was not aware of this statute. Thank you Doug for posting this. I read the whole opinion. Please, you bloggers of sentencing, listen to this voice and listen to his voice in prior opinions. Judge Mryon Bright has been the best judge on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for many years and also taught law at St. Louis University. My comment is given here to provide context to this "post".

Posted by: mpb | Aug 28, 2008 5:01:58 PM

Judge Bright is obviously within his perogative to file concurring opinions. Indeed, they may be more memorable if they opened with "ninjas are awesome." In any event, poster #1 is correct that this concurrence served no purpose. And the reason it did is for exactly the reason he/she suggested - it was poorly written and did not express the precise thought that Judge Bright wished to convey to the one or two readers of this opinion (apparently a few more thanks to Doug's posting). MPB - You have no idea what you're talking about. Judge Bright is far from distinguished. I could, if we ever have the opportunity to meet, detail the litany of reasons why you have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: No Clue | Aug 29, 2008 3:21:30 PM

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