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March 7, 2023

The Sentencing Project launches a "Second Look Network"

Regular readers should know that I am a big fan of second-look sentencing mechanisms, so I am also now a fan of a new "network" that I learned about via email today.  Here is a portion of the email (with links from the original):

The Sentencing Project is excited to announce the launch of the Second Look Network! The Second Look Network is a coalition of attorneys and post-sentence advocates across the country working on behalf of incarcerated individuals seeking relief from lengthy or unfair sentences.

The Network will facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between its members, and provide various opportunities for collaboration on effective litigation and mitigation strategies, host training sessions, and provide connections to experts and local policy efforts.  The Network will also provide communications and media support to its members. With support from Arnold Ventures, we are proud to create such a space to fill this need for the litigation community. 

To help build and maintain this Network, The Sentencing Project has welcomed a Director and Program Manager to our team.

Becky Feldman, Second Look Network Director

Becky is a post-conviction defense attorney and came to The Sentencing Project with 17 years of litigation and reentry experience on behalf of incarcerated people serving life sentences in Maryland prisons. 

Leyda Pereyra, Program Manager

Leyda is a social justice, equity and human rights advocate. Previously, Leyda served as an operational strategist and consultant to various campaigns that centered on health equity, economic empowerment, research and public policy through culturally responsive social justice frameworks.

We welcome you to learn more about the Network here. We also invite you to review the membership criteria, and, if applicable, apply to join us as we build this community.

I have written a whole lot about a broad array of second-look ideas and related issues in a a number of article through the years.  Here is a sampling of some of my major second-look related writings:

March 7, 2023 at 02:50 PM | Permalink


Obviously, the first step in any second look project a has to be to examine the laws in a given state to see what avenues ae available. My state has a very limited ability of the trial court to reduce sentences (limited to non-violent offenses in which drugs or alcohol played a role and defendant has completed treatment) and the main tool for reviewing sentences are applications for commutations (which are handled by the governor with all of the problems that would be expected as a result).

The second step is defining what should be the proper scope of any such review -- what does it take to trigger a review, who are the parties, when should it be granted. I think that many people can agree that there are some cases in which the passions of the moment lead to courts and prosecutors being stricter than, in hindsight, they should have been. But, if the remedy appears to cover too many cases (or cases which the public thinks the sentences are generally right or even too light, it will be difficult to get any such proposals adopted.

It is only once the tools are in place that individual cases can be examined. The cynic in me expects this new group to be more concerned about being "right" than the difficult task of building the political consensus needed to create potential solutions to what they perceive to be the problem.

Posted by: tmm | Mar 7, 2023 3:46:52 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB