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August 11, 2008

What were the biggest (or most blogworthy) sentencing stories while I was away?

Though I was only on-line a few times while away, thanks to terrific guest bloggers I was able to keep up with major sentencing developments by reading my own blog.  The story that was most dynamic and dramatic during my time away was the debate (and legal appeals) concerning Texas's (ultimately successful) efforts to execute Jose Medellin (basics here and here).  But the story I find most interesting is the surprising decision by a military commission to sentence Salim Hamdan, the Yemeni national who was Osama Bin Laden’s driver, to only 66 months following his conviction on charges of providing support to terrorism.

The fact that Hamdan received such a relatively short sentence — which is years shorter than the average sentence given to crack defendants in federal courts — provides an outcome-specific irony to all the legal and political wrangling over military tribunals.  In addition, the fact that Hamdan was sentenced by a jury, rather than by a judge (as per standard military justice procedure), puts an interesting twist on the years of post-Blakely debate concerning Sixth Amendment jury trial rights.

Though the guest-bloggers did a great job covering so many sentencing stories, I am sure some notable sentencing tid-bits have slipped below the radar.  Readers are encourage to use the comments or e-mail to spotlight stories from recent weeks that merit more attention.

August 11, 2008 at 12:04 AM | Permalink


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