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October 11, 2011

Witnesses identified for House hearing on post-Booker federal sentencing

As reported in this prior post, tomorrow morning (Oct. 12, 2011), the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Judiciary Committee will be conduction a hearing to examine the post-Booker federal sentencing system.  The hearing is titled "Uncertain Justice: The Status of Federal Sentencing and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Six Years after U.S. v. Booker," and the witness list has now been published at this calender entry.  The prominent persons scheduled to testify should be well known to many readers of the blog:

The Honorable Patti B. Saris; Chair, United States Sentencing Commission

Mr. Matthew Miner; Partner, White & Case LLP

Mr. William Otis; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law

Mr. James E. Felman; Kynes, Markman & Felman, P.A.

As I have said before and will say again, I am extremelypleased to see that the House is showing some interest in the current state and potential future of both the federal sentencing system and the USSC.   On so many modern federal sentencing fronts — on issues ranging from mandatory minimums for drug and gun offenses, to crack/powder sentencing after the FSA, to fraud sentencing, to child porn sentencing (and restitution), to reasonableness review, to fast-track departures, to acquitted conduct and on and on — there is uncertainty not only as to whether justice is being served, but also as to just what the USSC is doing in response to all this uncertainty.

If my schedule permits and if the hearing is webcast, I may try to live blog at least parts of the festivities scheduled to take place tomorrow morning in the Rayburn House Office Building.  In addition, I welcome/encourage anyone who is involved with or who attends the hearing to send me any and all blog-friendly text or materials in conjunction with this (important?) congressional hearing on the federal sentencing system.

October 11, 2011 at 04:51 PM | Permalink


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Why no DOJ representative at the hearing?

Posted by: snapple | Oct 11, 2011 5:57:36 PM

Great question! Perhaps the committee was concerned it would not like what DOJ might say...

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 11, 2011 7:11:19 PM

In a tort or even criminal case, an expert testifies. That expert is setting the standards of conduct on that matter. He is making the law. That testimony is subject to a Daubert hearing. Rule 702 codified the requirements of Daubert:

Rule 702. Testimony by Experts
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

If the rule making applies to much broader matters, and affects more people, and generates a lot of cost to the taxpayer, should such rule making at least meet the standards of the narrow impact of expert testimony? In fact the broader the application ,the greater certainty of reliability and validity is required. Or else, the mistake of those responsible can be huge. So if the authorities blame witch incantations for a plague in the city, shouldn't there be measurement of the number of afflicted people before and after the witches are burned at the stake? If no change takes place, shouldn't the witch hunt stop?

It is outrageous. Punishment is the sole tool of the law. Punishment is the subject of the hearings. Yet no one who knows anything about punishment is invited. Only rent seeking lawyers are invited. Guess the outcome. More procedures, more lawyer make work will be proposed.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 11, 2011 11:07:21 PM

One notes the feminist in control of US sentencing, mostly of males. Radcliffe and Harvard Law indoctrinated, from Massachusetts. A waking nightmare for the nation, especially the productive male. Assignment for Bill, find out what is her sexual orientation.

Congratulations to Bill on being asked to testify, perhaps representing the voice of common sense and reason.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 11, 2011 11:16:05 PM

Yes, thanks to Bill for representing the views of Supremacy Clause and other "voices of common sense and reason" at this important hearing.

Posted by: sexual orientation? | Oct 12, 2011 7:46:39 AM

Truly bizarre that there is no federal prosecution representative (Bill seems to think he's still a federal prosecutor, but he's actually not),and equally bizarre that there is no more "official" representative of the federal defense bar (e.g., a Federal Public Defender). Instead, a judge, 2 private practioners, and an academic. Hmm.

Posted by: snapple | Oct 12, 2011 11:40:30 AM

sexual orientation --

"Yes, thanks to Bill for representing the views of Supremacy Clause and other "voices of common sense and reason" at this important hearing."

My written testimony is available for all to see, along with my name. Where's yours?

P.S. If you want to take issue with any of my analysis, lay out your reasons. Just personal snippiness is asinine.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 12, 2011 1:45:29 PM

Sexual: Can you name a high homosexual policy maker in human history who was not sadistic, tyrannical, and plain nuts? There have been many high officials who were homosexuals, so the denominator is huge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 12, 2011 6:38:35 PM

Can anyone name a Harvard Law grad who does not hate America, and does not want to turn it into France so they may run a centralized national government? Mitt Romney is a Trojan Horse of conservatism, and does not count, despite his protestations to the contrary. He ran Massachusetts according to the central model of the Harvard Law School when governor.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 12, 2011 6:43:32 PM

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