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October 12, 2011

"Should sentences reflect the will of the public?"

The question in the title of this post is the provocative final question asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a former federal prosecutors who has been, by far, the most impressive of the members of House Judiciary Committee asking questions this morning at the hearing to examine the post-Booker federal sentencing system.

In his tough questioning of USSC Chair Judge Patti Saris, Rep. Gowdy suggested he would favor having Congress "codify" the guidelines via statutes (which would, of course, require jury findings of all aggravating factors based on Apprendi/Blakely).  Rep. Gowdy also noted that some states have jury sentencing.  

I wish Rep. Gowdy would have a lot more time to ask questions and that all the witnesses were asked the question in the title of this post.

October 12, 2011 at 11:03 AM | Permalink


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There are some 300 million people in the country, which members of the "public" is he referring to? All sentences reflect the view of some of them. No sentence will reflect the view of all of them. IMO it's kind of a silly question, or rather, a loaded and specious one.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Oct 12, 2011 11:37:14 AM

What is "the will of the public" and it is subject to climate change? The House has a certain will in a certain climate and in that climate Tea Party people clapped during a debate when it was suggested people without health insurance should die. This perverted understanding of survival of the fittest is actually an excuse to be self righteous assholes. Do we really want this passing cloud to set the boundaries?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 12, 2011 11:55:33 AM

No name:

I must take issue. The "perverted understanding" of Tea-Party types who cheered the notion that people should pay for their own doctor visits et al, might very well have been the same view as that of your
grandparents, and
great-grandparents, as it was of mine.

[And no, none in my family owned slaves or voted for segregation, or otherwise affirmed primitive values back in those dark days of old.]

Posted by: adamakis | Oct 12, 2011 1:07:50 PM

One may argue that sentences in any one individual case should reflect the will of the public in general terms; however in so doing, one argues for sentences in the aggregate for which the public in a general sense has shown no willingness to pay.

Posted by: C | Oct 13, 2011 3:32:17 PM

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