Posts filtered by tags: Douglas A. Berman[x], Douglas A Berman[x]


SCOTUS completes OT20 criminal docket with "it depends" Fourth Amendment ruling on misdemeanors and exigent circumstances

Astute law students often learn pretty quickly that "it depends" is often a pretty good answer to hard legal questions.  Consequently, I am not too surprised that the Supreme Court this morning, in deciding the last significant criminal case on its docket this Term, embraced its usual "it depends" approach — more formally a "case-by-case" analysis — to what can constitute exigent circumstances when police pursue a person suspect of a misdemeanor.  The Court's opinion in Lange v. California, No. ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, California, Kentucky, Israel, Court, United States, Tennessee, Lange, Garner, Kagan, Douglas A Berman, Voisine, Amicus Curiae

Notable education efforts prior to sentencing of minor participant in Capitol riot (who seems likely to get probation)

, headlined "Indiana woman to plead guilty in Capitol riot wrote reports on 'Schindler's List,' more," provides the interesting backstory leading up the scheduled sentencing of one person prosecuted for involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6. Here are some details: A Bloomfield woman will plead guilty this week for her role in the U.S. Capitol riot after appealing to the court that she has learned from her participation from movies and books such as "Schindler's List" and "Just Mercy."  ...
Tags: Facebook, Law, Indiana, Fbi, Capitol, HuffPost, Schindler, Hoosiers, Bloomfield, Copeland, U S Capitol, Shaner, Morgan Lloyd, Douglas A Berman, Channing Phillips, Second Capitol

Will any new sentencing issues be central to the new "comprehensive crime reduction strategy" soon to come from Prez Biden?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new lengthy CNN piece headlined "Concerns rising inside White House over surge in violent crime."  Here are excerpts: A nationwide surge in violent crime has emerged as a growing area of concern inside the White House, where President Joe Biden and his aides have listened with alarm as local authorities warn a brutal summer of killing lies ahead. Biden plans to address the spike in shootings, armed robberies and vicious assaults on Wedn...
Tags: Law, Congress, White House, Joe Biden, Cnn, Department Of Justice, Biden, Justice Department, Kamala Harris, Clinton, Democratic Party, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms, Rose Garden, Jen Psaki, Douglas A Berman, David Chipman

Depressing (and abridged) FSR reminder of just how long we have known crack sentences are especially whack

While awaiting the start of this morning's US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ,"Examining Federal Sentencing for Crack and Powder Cocaine," at which it seems there will be considerable advocacy for lowering crack cocaine sentences to finally be in parity with powder cocaine sentence (basics here), I thought to look through some of the archives of the Federal Sentencing Reporter to see how many articles have have had folks discussing (and often sharply criticizing) crack sentences.  Because cr...
Tags: Law, Senate, Los Angeles, Commission, Douglas, Daniel J, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission, Marc Miller, David Yellen, Richard Berk, Deborah Young, Mark Osler, Marc Mauer, US Senate Judiciary Committee, Robert S Mueller

"Dead Man Waiting: A brief profile of deaths in Texas prisons among people approved for parole release"

The title of this post is the title of this remarkable new report that provides a critical reminder the "being paroled" is a nuanced (and not-always-life -saving) reality in Texas.  Here is the report's abstract which also discusses its origin and authors: A troubling number of people in Texas prisons and jails who have been approved for release on parole are dying in custody before they ever step foot outside prison gates, according to a new report from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public A...
Tags: Texas, Law, The University of Texas at Austin, TDCJ, Douglas A Berman, BPP, Michele Deitch, Arnold Ventures, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, Texas Board of Pardons and Parole BPP, Alycia Welch

Strong extended coverage of modern drug war dynamics from NPR

As noted in this prior post, a number of media outlets ran a number of solid articles about the purported 50th anniversary of the start of the modern "war on drugs."  Valuably, NPR has gone deeper into this multifaceted topic through an extended series of effective pieces.  I have already flagged a few of these segments in prior posts, but I thought it useful to round-up and recommend all that I have now seen here: "After 50 Years Of The War On Drugs, 'What Good Is It Doing For Us?'" "Oregon...
Tags: Law, Oregon, America, Npr, Douglas A Berman, Valuably NPR

US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set for "Examining Federal Sentencing for Crack and Powder Cocaine"

On the morning of Tuesday, June 22, 2021, the US Senate Judiciary Committee has a hearing set for 10am titled "Examining Federal Sentencing for Crack and Powder Cocaine." The hearing should be available to watch at this link, where this list of witnesses are set out: Ms. Regina LaBelle, Acting Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy The Honorable Asa Hutchinson, Governor, State of Arkansas Mr. Matthew Charles, Justice Reform Fellow, FAMM The Honorable Russell Coleman, Member, Frost Bro...
Tags: Post, Law, Congress, Washington Post, Senate, Gop, Arkansas, Ohio, DEA, Biden, George W Bush, Booker, Hutchinson, Senate Judiciary Committee, Rob Portman, Drug Enforcement Administration

"Can Criminal Justice Reform Survive a Wave of Violent Crime?"

The question in the title of this post is the headline of this notable new commentary by John Pfaff in The New Republic.  The subheadline of the piece highlights its data-crunching themes: "An uptick in homicides across the country is getting blamed on reforms. That argument gets the data all wrong."  I recommend everything Pfaff writes in full, and here are excerpts from this very lengthy piece: Even as the pandemic lockdown helped push down many crimes, last year saw an unprecedented spike in...
Tags: Law, US, Chicago, Austin, Donald Trump, Marilyn Mosby, St Louis County Missouri, Western District of Texas, Douglas A Berman, Pfaff, John Pfaff, Vera Institute, Baltimore City Maryland, Wesley Bell, Gregg Sofer

"Truth, Lies and The Paradox of Plea Bargaining"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Thea Johnson now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract: This Article describes the regular use of lying during plea bargaining by criminal justice stakeholders, and the paradox it presents for those who care about creating a fairer criminal legal system . The paradox is this: lying at plea bargaining allows defendants the opportunity to negotiate fair resolutions to their cases in the face of a deeply unfair system, e...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Thea Johnson

Lots of GVRs (especially to Fifth Circuit) on latest SCOTUS order list

In this prior post following the Supreme Court's important ruling in Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here), limiting applicable ACCA predicates, I asked "How many federal prisoners might now be serving illegal sentences after Borden?".  Though that question may never get a precise answer, today's Supreme Court order list has a bunch of Borden GVRs which showcases which circuits will be most busy with the Borden fallout. Specifically, by my count, the Borden GVRs come ...
Tags: Sixth Circuit, Supreme Court, Law, US, Fifth Circuit, Borden, Eleventh Circuit, ACCA, Tenth Circuit, Douglas A Berman, Borden How, Fifth Circuit 16

Scouting the state judge who will sentence Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd

This new NBC News article, headlined "Derek Chauvin sentencing thrusts Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill back into spotlight," provides something of a scouting report on the judge who is scheduled to  sentence Derek Chauvin later this week.  Here are excerpts: A Minnesota judge who, former colleagues and friends say, has no penchant for publicity will again find himself in the media spotlight this week when he sentences the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George...
Tags: Minnesota, Law, Minneapolis, Nbc News, Floyd, Blakely, Cahill, Hennepin County, Douglas A Berman, Chauvin, Peter Cahill, George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, Craig Cascarano, Hennepin County Public Defender s Office, Matthew Witt

"The President’s Conditional Pardon Power"

The title of this post is the title of in the latest issue of the Harvard Law Review.  Here is the end of the Note's introduction: This Note concludes that the President’s pardons may not include conditions that deprive an individual of rights not already deprived by that individual’s conviction (or, in the case of preemptive pardons, rights that would have been deprived by a guilty plea).  This internal limitation is externally reinforced by the Due Process Clause.  This Note’s historical an...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Harvard Law Review Here, Conditional Pardon Power

Juneteenth reflections on American justice systems

Befitting this forum, I thought to celebrate the first official federal holiday year for Juneteenth by rounding up some recent articles about the perspective it can provide on criminal justice issues in our nation. Here goes: From the AP, "Lawmakers mark Juneteenth by reviving ‘abolition amendment’" From the Brookings Institution, "To celebrate Juneteenth, elect officials focused on ending mass incarceration" From PBS NewsHour, "Lawmakers call for an end to forced labor for felons to mark Junete...
Tags: Law, Pbs, Wausau, Vera Institute of Justice, Douglas A Berman, Juneteenth

"Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining and the Psychology of False Pleas and False Testimony"

The title of this post is the title of this new essay authored by Lucian Dervan now available via SSRN Here is its abstract: Plea bargaining is an institution that has come to dominate the American criminal justice system.  While little psychological research was done in the decades following the 1970 Supreme Court decision that approved the practice of plea bargaining, many advances have been made in this field in the last decade.  We now know, for example, that a significant number of defenda...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Douglas A Berman, Lucian Dervan

You be the judge: what sentence for Michael Avenatti (and do the guidelines merit any respect)?

It has been a while since I have done a "you be the sentencing judge" post, but a high-profile fallen lawyer provides juicy grist for this mill.  Specifically, as two recent postings at Law & Crime highlight, Michael Aventti's upcoming sentencing presents a notable set of facts and arguments for SDNY US District Judge Paul Gardephe: Michael Avenatti Seeks Light Prison Sentence Because His ‘Epic Fall and Public Shaming’ Are Punishment Enough Feds Seek ‘Very Substantial’ Prison Term for Disgraced ...
Tags: New York, Law, California, US, Nike, David, Stormy Daniels, Franklin, Davids, Paul Gardephe, Douglas A Berman, Michael Avenatti, Gary Franklin, Avenatti, Matthew Podolsky, Danya Perry

"The Mark of Policing: Race and Criminal Records"

The title of this post is the title of authored by Eisha Jain published in the Stanford Law Review Online. Here is its abstract: This Essay argues that racial reckoning in policing should include a racial reckoning in the use of criminal records.  Arrests alone — regardless of whether they result in convictions — create criminal records.  Yet because the literature on criminal records most often focuses on prisoner reentry and on the consequences of criminal conviction, it is easy to overlook...
Tags: Law, Stanford, Criminal Records, Douglas A Berman, Eisha Jain

Spotlighting many challenges "winning the peace" after drug decriminalization reform in Oregon

As we mark 50 years waging the drug war in the United States, legal reforms and polls make clear that Americans are eager to embrace public health rather than punitive responses to drug activity.  But a growing political will to end the "war on drugs" does not instantly create a practical way forward.  Growing interest in ending the drug war makes it critical for policy markers and advocates to focus on "winning the peace" as we move beyond criminalization models.  But new NPR article, headlined...
Tags: Law, Oregon, United States, Portugal, Npr, Marshall, Legislature, Douglas A Berman, Mike Marshall, Oregon Recovers, Reginald Richardson, Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission

"Life Without Parole Isn’t Making Us Any Safer"

The title of this post is the title of this video guest essay now on the New York Times opinion page.  Here is the text which accompanies the video: Robert Richardson robbed a bank of about $5,000 in 1997 and was sentenced to 60 years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole.  He was 30 years old when he was locked away in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, making his penalty a virtual life sentence. Mr. Richardson doesn’t deny that he did wrong.  He concurs with the adage “Don’t...
Tags: Law, New York Times, Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, Richardson, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Robert Richardson, Douglas A Berman, Sibil Fox Richardson

Local report on federal compassionate release in Rhode Island raises questions about US Sentencing Commission data

A helpful reader made sure I saw this new reporting about federal compassionate release practices from a local source in the Ocean State under the headline "Federal inmates seeking early release in RI approved 40% of the time in 2020."  Here are excerpts (with a little emphasis added): More than one of every three federal inmates sentenced in Rhode Island who sought compassionate release last year was let go early from prison, according to data from the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island. A ne...
Tags: Law, Oregon, Smith, Rhode Island, Providence, Ocean State, U S District Court, Floyd, Johnston, USSC, William Smith, Burdick, Douglas A Berman, U S Sentencing Commission, US Sentencing Commission, Sentencing Commission

Drug war ... huh ... after 50 years, what is it good for?

In July 1969, Prez Richard Nixon delivered a special message to Congress warning about the "serious national threat" of drugs, and he thereafter prodded Congress to pass in 1970 the federal Controlled Substance Act.  But on this day in 1971, Prez Nixon delivered an address in which he declared drug abuse "public enemy No. 1" and stated that "to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new all-out offensive." Consequently, many mark this day back in 1971 as the start of the "War on ...
Tags: Law, Congress, Washington Post, US, United States, Npr, Al Jazeera, Douglas A Berman, Prez Nixon, Prez Richard Nixon, Latin America From the Washington Post

"Undoing the Damage of the War on Drugs: A Renewed Call for Sentencing Reform"

The title of this post is the title of the scheduled congressional hearing called by the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the U.S. House Committee of the Judiciary. The hearing is to take place on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 10am and can be streamed here. The witness list, available here, should make this a must-see event: Rachel E. Barkow, Vice Dean and Charles Seligson Professor of Law, Faculty Director, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, NYU School of Law W...
Tags: Law, Heritage Foundation, Douglas A Berman, Homeland Security of the U S House Committee, Rachel E Barkow Vice Dean, Charles Seligson, Administration of Criminal Law NYU School, Law William R Underwood, Ed Gilbertson, Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson

Notable recent commentary on links between lead exposure and crime rates

Long-time readers may recall that I have long been intrigued by the (often under-discussed) social science research that suggests lead exposure levels may better account for variations in crime rates than just about any other single variable.  In an number of older posts (linked below), I have flagged some articles on this topic, and I have always been eager to note work by researcher Rick Nevin and others who have been eager to put a spotlight on the lead-exposure-crime-link evidence.  This wee...
Tags: Law, Fbi, Epa, Douglas A Berman, Jennifer Doleac, Rick Nevin, Effective Washington Post, Niskanen Center Research Roundup

"The False Hope of the Progressive-Prosecutor Movement"

The title of this post is the title of this recent notable Atlantic piece by Darcy Covert that is summarized via its subheadline: "Well-intentioned reformers can’t fix the criminal legal system. They have to start relinquishing power."  I recommend the piece in full, and here are some excerpts (links from the original): [P]rogressive prosecutors’ approach won’t bring about meaningful change.  The progressive-prosecutor movement acknowledges (as research has shown) that prosecutors’ “breathtakin...
Tags: Law, America, Atlantic, Darcy, Douglas A Berman, Progressive Prosecutor Movement

Massive new RAND report provides "Statistical Analysis of Presidential Pardons"

I received an email yesterday from the Bureau of Justice Statistics with a link to this 220+ page report produced by RAND Corporation titled "Statistical Analysis of Presidential Pardons."  The report is so big and intricate that the introduction runs 40 pages with lots of complicated data.  And, disappointingly, it seems the detailed statistical analysis includes data only running through April 2012 (through most of Prez Obama's first term) and so does not include the flush of pardons and commu...
Tags: Law, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, Prez Obama, Rand Corporation, Douglas A Berman, Statistical Analysis of Presidential Pardons

In memoriam: mourning the passing of Judge Jack Weinstein

US District Judge Jack Weinstein was nominated to be a federal judge a year before I was born, but twenty-six years later, the very first case I worked on during my first judicial clerkship involved an appeal of Judge Weinstein's remarkable (and yet-still-run-of-the-mill) sentencing opinion in US v. Ekwunoh, 813 F. Supp. 168 (EDNY 1993).  I am certain that the fortuity of my first real case during my first real job involving the intricacies and injustices of federal sentencing played no small ro...
Tags: Law, US, New York Times, Times, Weinstein, Jack Weinstein, Douglas A Berman, Carolin Guentert, Ryan Gerber, Ekwunoh

National Registry of Exonerations reports on "25,000 Years Lost to Wrongful Convictions"

I saw this notable new report from the folks at the National Registry of Exonerations titled "25,000 Years Lost to Wrongful Convictions."  here is part of the start of the report: In 2018, the National Registry of Exonerations reported a grim milestone: Exonerated defendants had collectively served 20,000 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Just three years later, in June 2021, we reached another: Time lost to false convictions exceeded 25,000 years.  The total now stands at 25,004 ...
Tags: Law, California, United States, National Registry of Exonerations, Douglas A Berman, Lawrence Martin, COVID, Registry Innocent Black

Justice Department files SCOTUS brief seeking to restore death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

As repoted in this Hill piece, the "Biden administration on Monday urged the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty against the Boston Marathon bomber in an apparent break with the president's stated opposition to capital punishment."  Here are the details (with a link to the filing): In a 48-page brief, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the justices to reverse a Boston-based federal appeals court that vacated the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the lone surviving perpetrator of...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, White House, Boston, Boston Marathon, Biden, Doj, Justice Department, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Trump, First Circuit, Hill, U S Court of Appeals, Tsarnaev, The Hill, AG Barr

New plea deals sets possible new precedent for resolving low-level Capitol riot prosecutions with single misdemeanor with 6 month jail maximum

As reported in , headlined "Virginia couple pleads guilty in Capitol riot," the first set of pleas for low-level participating in the January 6 riots were entered in federal court yesterday.  Here are the details: A Virginia couple on Monday became the third and fourth defendants to plead guilty in the sprawling investigation stemming from the Capitol riot in January.  However, Jessica and Joshua Bustle of Bristow, Va., became the first to plead guilty in federal court who faced only misdemean...
Tags: Florida, Law, Senate, Virginia, America, Joe Biden, Fbi, Ronald Reagan, Secret Service, District Of Columbia, Donald Trump, Bustle, Reuters, Capitol, Jessica, Hogan

More good coverage of the not-so-good (but still not-so-bad) realities of federal compassionate release realities

As noted here, last Thursday the US Sentencing Commission released some fascinating (and bare bones) data on compassionate release motions in 2020 in this short data report.  In this post, I flagged coverage by the Marshall Project lamenting that the Bureau of Prisons approved so very few compassionate release applications.  I have since seen three more press piece noting ugly stories in the data: From BuzzFeed News, "Incarcerated People Faced Huge Disparities Trying To Flee COVID-19 In Prison...
Tags: Law, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Vermont, Marshall Project, USSC, Bureau of Prisons, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission, Political Appointments and District Court, Louisville Courier Journal Federal

Perhaps more guns explains why we have more gun homicides and more gun crimes

In this prior post on recent media coverage and political punditry focused on rising crime rates and their political implications, I noted my frustration that these discussions too often elide important data suggesting that it is primarily gun-related crimes that are on the rise while other crimes may still be on the decline.  Again this backdrop, I found notable this new Vox piece by two data scientists headlined "One possible cause of the 2020 murder increase: More guns."  Here are excerpts: ...
Tags: Law, Washington Dc, Vox, Floyd, Charleston South Carolina, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission, Scott Wolfe, Prez Biden, Crime AG Garland, David Pyrooz Justin Nix

April - 2021
May - 2021
June - 2021