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June 21, 2012

A recap and request concerning today's big SCOTUS sentencing action

In part because my head is still spinning much too fast after reading the Supreme Court's work today in  Southern Union (basic here), and Dorsey (basics here), I think I am going to get "off the grid" for at least the next few hours. 

Before doing so, I will recap via links below my posts on these cases, and also make this request to any and all fellow sentencing nuts: please use the comments to this post (or send me an e-mail) to report any highlights from other blogs or the traditional media concerning reactions to these opinions.  I have already seen this FAMM press release about the Dorsey ruling, and I suspect a lot more commentary will follow. 

I will be grateful to any and all who help me identify the most interesting or notable reactions (and I will happily provide space for thoughtful guest-posts if/when readers want to develop detailed commentaries too intricate or important to lurk only in the comments).  Thanks.

Today's posts on today's SCOTUS sentencing stuff:

June 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM | Permalink


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I have just read the dissent and one can only shake their head in disbelief about how far off the mark Breyer, Kennedy and Alito are. I think that they are so far off understanding what Apprendi is all about that even Scalia took pity on them and refrained from his penchant for concurring opinions explaining how misguided the dissenters are. Plus, I think he so abruptly took Alito down during oral argument in Southern Union, that he didn't have the enthusiasm for doing it again. All I can say is that the dissent doesn't have a clue.


Posted by: bruce cunningham | Jun 21, 2012 8:51:57 PM

I could not get past the facts of the Southern. This was a crime without harm. The crime was storing mercury without a permit. The penalty was $50,000 a day. We are in Mafia usury territory. The issue should have been excessive fine under the Eighth Amendment. The trial judge, perhaps out of embarrassment by the $38 million fine, cut it by two thirds.

There is usually a high correlation between jury and judge verdicts and sentencing, so Apprendi is to generate more fees for trial time, stealing by the lawyer hierarchy. Apprendi achieves little else than increasing trial costs.

No lawyer will ever face these two problems, excessive fines for a harmless, paperwork infraction, and lawyer stealing. They will never be considered "thoughtful." Anyone starting a business in the United States is a fool.

Because I cannot spot any legal recourse, the workers who lose their jobs or their raises when the $millions are wrongfully collected by the federal government, should respond as if extorted by the Mafia. Hunt them. Torture them. Fed Ex their heads to the Cappi di tutti Cappi on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 22, 2012 8:39:55 AM

Bruce and all other lawyers here: I have to demand it. You need a disclosure statement at the bottom of every utterance.

"I will make more money whenever legal procedure increases. The validity of my statements should be judged accordingly."

The Supremacy has been enriched by the lawyer and hyperproceduralism. So almost all arguments it makes are against economic interest, and for patriotic purpose, to save our besieged nation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 22, 2012 8:44:59 AM

"Petitioner Southern Union Company is a natural gas distributor. Its subsidiary stored liquid mercury, a hazardous substance, at a facility in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In September 2004, youths from a nearby apartment complex broke into the facility, played with the mer-cury, and spread it around the facility and complex. The complex’s residents were temporarily displaced during the cleanup and most underwent testing for mercury poisoning."

I'm not sure exactly how there is no "harm" here. The permit process is in place to properly regulate this sort of thing. The fine was a result of a finding (overturned since the jury itself didn't find it) that the company was in arrears for over two years. Particularly w/o knowing how much their profits are for a year, the injustice of it all is unclear to me.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 22, 2012 10:20:49 AM

horse pucky joe! if it had been an official PERMITTED location the little hoodlum's could have still broke in and still made a chemical hazard!

sorry the wrong hoodlem's got punished!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 22, 2012 11:12:13 AM

"I will make more money whenever legal procedure increases. The validity of my statements should be judged accordingly."

Supremacy Clause: I admit it. I have grown fat with profits from the byzantine legal structures erected by lawyers and judges in both the civil and criminal fields. I have magnificent homes in Malibu, Paris, and New York. I have a yacht moored of Santorini, and one near Del Rey Beach. I entertain lavishly and have stunning mistresses in these cities (who, I might add, cater to my most perverted fantasies). And all this; yes all this, I owe to the misguided lawyers and judges who insist that we be governed by the so-called rule of law and the so-called Bill of Rights. But, Supremacy, how did you finally uncover this truth? Let's meet in my penthouse condo in Paris over drinks. I'll send my private jet for you. By the way, do you prefer blonds or redheads?

Posted by: anon1 | Jun 22, 2012 12:26:48 PM

Anon1: Thanks to the lawyer, I come close to the life style you sarcastically describe. I have absolutely no objection to lawyers becoming zillionaires, as long as achieved in profit seeking and not rent seeking, a synonym for armed robbery. The Rule of Law is an essential utility product. Turn it off, and you have Fallujah, where nothing gets done because personal survival consumes the entire day and effort.

The Supremacy happens to love the lawyer, and the Rule of Law. Under its proposals, the profession will be half its size, will make four times its current earnings by adding value and profit, and will be held in 10 times the esteem by the public. There will be no more crime, nor any social pathology. The economic growth rate will be 10%, not 2%. About 20% of the GDP will go into innovation, research and development, and 5% into paper shuffling (the reverse of today's lawyer Twilight Zone waking nightmare).

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 23, 2012 12:58:31 AM

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