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Criminal Law

Sentencing Law and Policy Sentencing Law and Policy

News, issues, commentary and provides resources related to sentencing law and policy.
By Douglas A. Berman

Post Frequency: 101.5/day

Last Entry: May 05, 2015 at 10:15:09

Recent Entries: 9743

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"What are We Hoping for? Defining Purpose in Deterrence-Based Correctional Programs"

Posted on May 05, 2015
The title of this post is the title of this important and timely new paper by Cecelia Klingele now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract: One of the most popular program models in criminal justice today is that popularized...


Could new DEA chief significantly change realities of federal war on drugs?

Posted on May 05, 2015
The question in the title of this post is prompted by this Huffington Post article, headlined "Lawmakers Encourage Obama To Select A Progressive New DEA Chief," reporting on this recent letter sent by a group of Representatives to Prez Obama....


SCOTUS asks for views from US Solicitor General on original lawsuit between states over marijuana reform

Posted on May 04, 2015
Via this order list, the US Supreme Court called for the views of the Solicitor General in the original case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado. That is the case, as readers may recall from posts here and here back...


Fairer capital fight has Virginia prosecutors fighting for the death penalty less

Posted on May 04, 2015
As reported in this notable new AP article, headlined "Pace of death sentences, executions slows in Virginia," once the state of Virginia provided a sounder means to defend to capital defendants, prosecutors decided it was sounder not to seek death...


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"Are video visits a smart innovation for jails ? or yet another way to exploit families?"

Posted on May 04, 2015
The title of this post is the title of this notable lengthy new Quartz piece. Here are excerpts: To visit her son in jail in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, Barbara Brutschy would get on a plane and fly 1,700...


The never-aging (and ever-costly) story of ever-aging US prison populations

Posted on May 03, 2015
Today's Washington Post has this extended front-page story about the graying of America's prison populations. This will feel like an old story to regular readers of this blog, but these prison realities will remain timely as more and more offenders...


?Catching American Sex Offenders Overseas: A proposal for a federal international mandated reporting law?

Posted on May 03, 2015
The title of this post is the title of this notable new law review article authored by Basyle Tchividjian, which I just came across. Here is an excerpt from the end of the piece's introduction: In Asia alone, over 62,000...


Considering clemency for federal marijuana offenders and other posts of note at Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform

Posted on May 02, 2015
This new post about a new commentary headlined "Do marijuana prisoners deserve amnesty?" reminded me that I have not recently done in this space a round-up of posts of note from Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform. Here is an abridged...


"Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration: High cost, poor outcomes spark shift to alternatives"

Posted on May 02, 2015
The title of this post is the title of this notable issue brief released this past week by Pew's Public Safety Performance Project. Here is how the document starts and concludes: A growing body of research demonstrates that for many...


Seventh Circuit, in 6-5 en banc ruling, allows new federal 2241 review of Atkins claim based on new evidence

Posted on May 02, 2015
If you love to spend a spring weekend thinking through the statutes and policies that govern federal collateral review of federal death sentences ? and really, who doesn't? ? then the en banc Seventh Circuit has a great ruling for...


Judicial second-thoughts leads to greatly reduced prison sentences for cheating Atlanta school administrators

Posted on May 01, 2015
As reported here a few weeks ago, the judge presiding over the sentencing of 10 former Atlanta public school educators convicted of participating in a widespread conspiracy to cheat on state tests ordered three of the defendants to serve seven...


"How a Death Row Inmate's Request to Give His Organs Kept Him Alive"

Posted on May 01, 2015
The title of this post is the headline of this notable lengthy Newsweek article discussing the array of remarkable developments that have surrounded the application of the death penalty in Ohio over the last few years. Here are excerpts which...


"Baltimore prosecutor charges police with murder, manslaughter in death of Freddie Gray"

Posted on May 01, 2015
The title of this post is the current headline of this notable breaking FoxNews report. Here are the basics: Prosecutors charged six Baltimore police officers Friday with crimes ranging from murder to assault in the death of Freddie Gray, the...


Iowa faith leaders urge Senator Grassley to move forward with drug sentencing reforms

Posted on May 01, 2015
Last week, US Senator Charles Grassley spoke at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Forum, and the Faith & Freedom Coalition asserts here that its beliefs are rooted in the view "that the greatness of America lies not in the...


Federal indictments and a plea deal in New Jersey "Bridgegate" scandal

Posted on May 01, 2015
As reported in this CNN piece, headlined "Bridgegate: 1 guilty plea, 2 indictments and 'liars'," a couple of federal indictments hit the fan today for officials formerly in the administration of NJ Gov Chris Christie. Here are the basics: Two...


What does new Prez candidate Bernie Sanders have to say about criminal justice reform?

Posted on April 30, 2015
As reported in this new AP article, headlined "Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announces 2016 presidential run," Hillary Clinton now has some official competition for the Democratic nomination for president. But, as highlighted by the question in the title of this...


Timely (but incomplete) report on political debates as de facto moratorium on federal executions continues

Posted on April 30, 2015
The New York Times this morning has this new front-page article discussing a remarkable national death penalty story that seems never to get nearly as much attention it merits. The article is headlined "Obama Adminintration Steps Back From Effort to....


Ninth Circuit finds procedural error in teen's 30-month federal sentence for laser beam prank

Posted on April 30, 2015
A Ninth Circuit panel today handed down a notable sentencing opinion in US v Gardenhire, No. 13-50125 (9th Cir. April 30, 2015) (available here). This unofficial summary of the ruling provided by court staff highlights why federal sentencing fans will...


New proposal for National Criminal Justice Commission garnering notable support

Posted on April 30, 2015
This official press release from the office of Senator Lindsay Graham highlights a notable new federal bill to create a notable new federal commission with a notable mission that already has some notable supports. Here are excerpts from the press...


"The Supreme Court Is About to Decide the Future of Lethal Injections"

Posted on April 29, 2015
The more I think about the Glossip lethal injection case being considered by the Supreme Court today (basics previewed here), the more I think the Justices will be inclined to issue a very narrow ruling that only clearly impacts the...


Candidate Hillary Clinton to call for criminal justice reforms that would ?end the era of mass incarceration?

Posted on April 29, 2015
As reported in this Los Angeles Times article, all the media chasing around a notable presidential candidate are about to have a meaty and timely criminal justice reform story. The headline of the LA Times piece is "Hillary Clinton to...


Intriguing reports on Supreme Court oral argument about Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol

Posted on April 29, 2015
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has this report on the oral argument today in the Supreme Court case concerning Oklahoma's lethal injection protocols. It starts this way: For months, the Supreme Court has given no explanation as it refused to give...


David Simon connects Baltimore's woes to the drug war

Posted on April 29, 2015
The Marshall Project has this interesting new feature interview with David Simon, under the headline "David Simon on Baltimore?s Anguish: Freddie Gray, the drug war, and the decline of 'real policing.'" The full piece merits a full read, and here...


Candidate Clinton laments mass incarceration, but proposes only a "national debate" to address it

Posted on April 29, 2015
I have now had a chance to read this full text of Hillary Clinton's big policy speech on criminal justice reform delivered today at Columbia University (previewed here). If forced to summarize my reaction in a word, I would probably...


"Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice" (with some notable omissions)

Posted on April 28, 2015
The first part of the title of this post is the title of this fascinating new publication released today by the Brennan Center for Justice. Here is how the 164-page text is described in an e-mail I received this morning:...


"Going Retro: Abolition for All"

Posted on April 28, 2015
The title of this post is the headline of this notable new and timely article authored by Kevin Barry now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract: The opening of the twenty-first century has seen a flurry of death penalty...


Senator Grassley yet again says he is open to some federal sentencing reforms

Posted on April 28, 2015
As reported in this new Washington Times article, "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday said he supported looking into sentencing reform." Here is more of this (not-quite-new) news: Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, has long opposed reducing mandatory minimums,...


Highlighting GOP leaders' notable new essays on criminal justice reform

Posted on April 28, 2015
As reported in this prior post, the Brennan Center for Justice today released this fascinating new publication titled "Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice" composed of essays by over twenty high-profile politicians and policy-advocates...


Just what will SCOTUS focus on when reviewing Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol?

Posted on April 28, 2015
The Supreme Court concludes its oral arguments with a capital bang on Wednesday by hearing the case of Glossip v. Gross. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has this effective argument preview which starts this way: In an era when botched executions...


Notable developments in prelude to federal sentencing for Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht

Posted on April 28, 2015
This new Forbes article, headlined "Ulbricht's Defense Calls For Delayed Sentencing After Feds Reveal Six Alleged Silk Road Drug Overdose Deaths," reports on a notable new development in the lead up to the sentencing of a notable federal defendant. Here...


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