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April 16, 2010

District Judge rejects defense request to keep private next week's sentencing of Cameron Douglas

The New York Post has this new report headlined "Cameron Douglas getting public sentencing." Here are the details:

Cameron Douglas should start getting ready for his close-up. A judge today ordered a public sentencing for the drug-dealing Hollywood heir, whose lawyers sought to have his punishment imposed in private on Tuesday.

Manhattan federal Judge Richard Berman [no relation] also told defense lawyers to re-file their inch-thick plea for leniency -- without much of the blacked-out editing job that kept huge portions hidden from public view.

The ruling came after The Post objected to the defense's request to keep the sentencing private and to its desire to hide many portions of the plea for leniency.  Among the information withheld is a letter to the judge from Douglas' Oscar-winning dad, Michael Douglas, who's set to star in a sequel to his hit 1987 film "Wall Street."

"The rationale for the court's determination is that the public has a right of access to criminal judicial proceedings and documents.  And, the right of access extends to sentencing proceedings in criminal cases," Berman wrote.  "Relatedly, the public has a right to know, with limited exceptions, the bases for the court's sentencing determinations."

Under terms of the judge's order, Douglas's lawyers can keep secret only limited details, such as home addresses and phone numbers, medical records and "information regarding any individual's cooperation with the government, if any."

Douglas' shrink has already revealed that Douglas began working as an informant after he was busted last summer for selling crystal meth.  He faces a mandatory 10 years in the slammer unless prosecutors file a motion allowing Berman to waive the minimum based on the value of his cooperation.

Speaking as both a sentencing academic and a sentencing blogger, I am pleased with this ruling.

April 16, 2010 at 04:54 PM | Permalink


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Yes, the judge got it right.

Posted by: public defender | Apr 19, 2010 4:08:14 PM

Right on Judge and right on Doug. Secret sentencing is just fine--IN RUSSIA.

Posted by: mpb | Apr 19, 2010 11:03:45 PM

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