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November 19, 2009

Interesting report on US Sentencing Commission regional hearing in Texas

As noted in this prior post, the US Sentencing Commission today started another  of its regional public hearing, this one at the University of Texas School of Law.  As detailed in this official agenda (where some of the written testimony is now linked), an interesting group of invited witnesses are testifying in this regional hearing. And this new AP report, which is headlined "Dallas DA promotes implementing 'smart justice'," details some of today's hearing highlights: 

Implementing "smart justice" can help ease the criminal case load on prosecutors and keep society safe, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins told a federal sentencing commission Thursday.  That means using programs for youthful first-time offenders who can work toward getting their charges dismissed or fast-tracking of repeat low-level offenders into state jails, said Watkins, who is known for working to free wrongly convicted inmates.

Watkins said in his nearly three years in office, he has worked to implement such "smart justice." "At the end of the day the goal is public safety," he said, adding that it's smart use of taxpayer money to attempt to ensure that imprisoned inmates don't repeat their crimes when they get out of jail. "The goal is rehabilitation, as opposed to just punishment."...

The commission heard from several Texas experts.  One commission member kept referring to the "Texas success story" of how the state has moved to more community-based corrections programs over the past two years.  Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center on the States, said Texas is a law-and-order and fiscally conservative state and that it is using methods besides imprisonment in sentencing convicts.  Parts of Texas have a "very robust system of community corrections and alternatives," Gelb said....

Three federal judges also addressed the panel Thursday.  Judge Robin Cauthron of Oklahoma said she is glad judges now have more discretion in varying from federal sentencing guidelines. That came about because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in recent years.

In presenting her recommendations, she said she believes federal sentencing guidelines are often too harsh for possession of child pornography when there's no indication that the defendant who viewed the pornography would actually molest a child.

November 19, 2009 at 09:31 PM | Permalink


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FYI, I attended this event and had an additional writeup here.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Nov 20, 2009 12:23:59 PM

I would like to see the police publish a database of judge shame. If the judge has a downward deviation, and the criminal re-offends during the time he should have been in prison, the judge must be held accountable.

I would like to see these careless incompetents, these criminal lover lawyers on the bench, lose all their self-dealt immunities. They must make whole the victims of their carelessness.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 20, 2009 9:50:05 PM

works for me. but i want it reversed as well. California has been tracking sex offenders since the 1940's.....if that record shows the majoring have NOT reffended then i want EVERY politician in calif that has wasted billions passing new laws based on their so-called massive reoffence rates arrested and locked up for fraud ...for both the lies about the no-existant massive reoffences and the wasted billions.

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Nov 21, 2009 3:31:32 AM

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