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June 11, 2014

Some new posts highlighting the "tough-on-crime" take on federal drugs sentencing reform

Long-time readers know that we used to be able to get Bill Otis's tough-on-crime perspective on sentencing reform via the comments to posts here, but now we all need to head over to Crime & Consequences to see his take on current sentencing events.  Not surprisingly, the discussion by US Sentencing Commission about whether to make its new lower drug guidelines retroactive has Bill going strong, and here are a sampling of him recent post from C&C:

The titles of all these posts provide a flavor of their contents, but I urge all folks following closely the debates over recent federal sentencing reform to click through and read all Bill has to say on these topics.  Notably, the first post listed above highlights how perspectives on broader reform debates will necessarily inform views on particular positions taken on smaller issues.  Bill assails DOJ for advocating for "large scale retroactivity" when it decided to yesterday to "support limited retroactivity of the pending drug guideline amendment."  In notable contrast, I have received a number of e-mails from advocates of federal sentencing reform today (some of which I hope to soon reprint in this space) that assail DOJ for not advocating for complete retroactivity.

June 11, 2014 at 05:18 PM | Permalink


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Since when doesn't Bill Otis comment here? What happened?

Posted by: Mark Obbie | Jun 11, 2014 5:29:41 PM

Billy got upset and went to the darkside. He got beatup by about everyone on the forum several times.

But Bill is resilent and will keep on with his vigilant support of the guidelines.

They are perfect as is, unless they need to be increased, especially for drugs.

Oh well, Enough said.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jun 11, 2014 5:50:29 PM

Wew, just read Bills posts. He hasnt changed any. What Bill fails tonrealize is that federal sentenceing isnt the God like magic wand that he wants it to be. These people are going to get out some day. They have already been sentenced to hell. So by granting a measly 2 level drop, it will enhance many of their lives.

The recidivism rAte is no higher if ghey get out earlier or do the full stay. Oh yeah by the way, our country owes China like 13 trillion bucks and is headed towards 17 trillion.

Its time to wean the feds spending they are drunk on debt and have no clue. Wait till the good stuff hits the fan and the country blows up fiscally. Do you really think the stock market record highs are evidence of our sound health. How about the great cd rates and pass book savings at .12 %. If that high... Nope, the boys in Washington have lead us down the primrose parh.

I just cant wait when they make massive cuts to medicare/medicaid and social security.

That will seal the deal... Its not far away either..

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jun 11, 2014 6:10:09 PM

"When We Let Them Out, They Keep Doing It. Period."

Yes, blog posts with titles like that definitely need more scholarly attention. Exclamation mark.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 11, 2014 7:31:02 PM

Agree with you Midwest Guy plus many others out here that would share those anxieties.

Posted by: Randy | Jun 11, 2014 7:45:01 PM

Also noticed that nobody has left any comments about Bill's increased hysteria in his viewpoints. Maybe because he's preaching to his choir.

Posted by: Randy | Jun 11, 2014 8:01:14 PM

Bill's not hysterical. He continues to advocate incapacitation now -- incapacitation forever. In his twisted world everything is zero tolerance no matter how low its level of harm to others. One recidivist justifies the incarceration of thousands. Bill knows it is an inexact science--his solution is to err in favor of over-incarceration instead of erring in favor of restoring citizenship. It's not hysteria -- it's elevating slavish adherence to pro-incarceration mandatory minimum sentences and guidelines over individualized sentencing consideration. In Bill's world he doesn't care about the costs--just keep'em in jail until they are to old or dead to commit any "future" offenses.

Posted by: ? | Jun 11, 2014 10:15:02 PM

Most adjudicated charges are fictitious. So no one knows who is non-violent. The surge of murders was associated with the surge in drug dealing. So drug dealers are not necessarily non-violent. People used kids to murder competitors because of the protection of these heartless and vicious predators holding their Glocks sideways by the lawyer. They chased one into the lobby of my apartment building and executed him, as he begged for his life, totally unafraid of the gaping neighbors.

All released drug dealers should be placed in the streets where the above commentators live.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 11, 2014 10:38:15 PM

?. Release the drug dealer into your street. See what happens to the value of your home. Report back about the high cost of incarceration.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 11, 2014 10:40:58 PM

At ? Good post. SC, these guys if turned loose in our neighborhoods, basically vanish into the night air. They end up at a buddys house for their late night smokem if ya gotem parties.

Its actuallybrare yhat these guys and gals do any violence at all. Their crime is self abuse and not cleaning upnafter their lives. Its a full time job getting their product doing whatever they do with it.

Yes they need to go away. But each crank of the machine shouldnt go up in roughly 5 yr increments. I know they go 1-6 in history categories and level 43 is eternity.

But I would think 5-10 would do wonders for most. How about training them with a skill .
Not the govnt type worthless crap, that they pedal now. Welding, blue print reading, h-vac, electrical, cad training.

Some of this is provided I think, but its the mickey mouse type, dont get to do anything.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jun 11, 2014 11:26:59 PM

Midwest: One may think of someone with antisocial personality disorder as a natural disaster. Releasing one is akin to loosing a tornado or flood. Everything in the vicinity is destroyed. So incapacitation is the sole mature purpose of the criminal law. Bill was the only licensed lawyer here who understood that because he believed, as I do, public safety is the aim of the criminal law, and of government.

One feature that unifies all areas with low crime rates, with due respect to the blood lead level theory, is public self help. So the sociopath must fear the immediate neighbor more than the remote police.

All of this is a waste of time and damage, if the sociopath could be executed at the earliest age palatable to the public.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 12, 2014 5:57:03 AM

No doubt Bill is a very smart man and has seen more unworkable people than I have.
He also lives in a bigger envirinment, larger city etc.

I live in the midwest, where drugs means these guys slowly deteriate, then just plain disappear into the night air. Until they are arrested, and you see their name in the paper,
There is no sign of existence. But then they are sentence boyond belief, with 5 yrs roughly supervised release. Which means, if they pass gas down wind, they go back to prison.

These guys will never stay out of trouble like we do. But we arenot god and donot rule the planet. Animals have more cinsideration tha people do. Save the whales, claims, spotted owl, the crayfish etc.

Ever try to get a neighbors dog not bark half the day. They can tie up ir turn loose in their back yard. Then the muttlings can bark at you whenever they want. As a person try that one on for size. I agree that drugs takes peolpe to prison, as its where they need to go.
But the Feds warehouse offenders for decades. Every little item in their life kicks up the criminal history, oops, this is am enhancement and so is this.

A system designed and labeled with flags that dictate mandatorys are called enhancements. Oh really, the entire goal of Federal is to give as high of sentence as possible. Then hang into them afterwards, somwe can drag them back for another round.

Once the feds rag you, they Tend to want to gang into everyone for life. Thats where I draw the line. The Feds can get screwed, along with their corruption and favors they do for their buddies, but we dont qualify for. America is what it is, in spite of being drug down by the federal govmt. Yes thats right, ever see a federal building that the steps wasnt made iut if marble. They are 3 times larger than they need be and nongood comes from them. A total waste.. Are you happy with the way your Federal tax dollars are being spent. Thats the test...Anyway America is still the best place on the planet, but our rights and freedoms are being sucked away daily. Really a shame.

Joe avg out there has no clue on how screwed up the feds really are. Look at the VA, IRS, congress, senators etc. ran extremely poor and inefficient. A 10 yr old would do much better. Try and call an office and get an accurate answer.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jun 12, 2014 6:26:33 AM


I lived in Iowa 3 years. A low crime state. Almost all white. Small towns where crime cannot be hidden. Strong neighbor affilations, even interdependencies. Crime risk not a part of decisions in daily life. Infinite employmenton farms. Culture of trust very beneficial for productivity.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 12, 2014 12:09:14 PM

Iowa = I o where? - most definitely does not represent the demographics of 95% of the rest of this countries population or social circumstances - no empirical data needed to back that up either

Posted by: ted | Jun 12, 2014 4:40:14 PM

Ted. Small town Iowa, even college town Iowa is less violent than the rest of the nation, maybe 60% less. Not crime free. Still have to be careful,. If the Bronx could have the crime rate of Iowa, I would stop complaining. You just don't think about crime in Iowa, in daily activity.

I know this can be done. I live 5 miles from a Fallujah like inner city jungle. In a lawyer residential neighborhood. Virtually no crime, with half the risk of the nation because we have some bad areas. Shoplifiting makes the local paper. How can such contrasting rates exist within 5 miles of each other?

Alarm goes off, 3 college educated police arrive within 2.5 minutes. Blasting, if the perp is armed. The death penalty is at the scene. Everyone gets the memo, with a bg difference in rates even on the two sides of the avenue separating the suburb from the city limits. In the city, there is a waiting list to get into jail after murdering someone. In the suburb, there is plenty of room.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 12, 2014 5:45:34 PM

Midwest Guy,

Your "logic" appears to be that they will get out at some point anyway, so it might as well be earlier.

Taken to its inevitable end, you are arguing against incarceration at all. Is that what you intend? Forgive me if the question seems absurd to you, but that is exactly what many here would want if they were honest enough to say it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 13, 2014 12:11:41 PM

"How can such contrasting rates exist within 5 miles of each other?"

Quite simply explained by the fact that you most likely live in a very ethicnally homogeneous, highly educated and more affluent area than the more ethnically diverse lower income area that is located 5 miles away.

Posted by: ted | Jun 16, 2014 2:19:09 PM

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