Society


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


 

Reviewing criminal justice highlights (or low-lights) from AG nominee Barr's confirmation hearing

Other commitments are keeping me from being able to keep a close watch on the Senate confirmation hearing for President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Justice, William Barr.  Fortunately, lots of other folks are doing so, and here is a round-up of a few pieces I have seen highlighting some of the criminal justice issues that have been discussed: From BuzzFeed News, "Bill Barr Says He’s 'Not Going After' Marijuana In States Where It’s Legal: Bill Barr told senators he’d take the same...
Tags: Law, Obama, Senate, US, Trump, Jeff, George H W Bush, AG, Barr, Douglas A Berman, William Barr, Bill Barr, Vox Cory Booker


"Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2018"

The title of this post is the title of authored by Nicole Porter for The Sentencing Project which highlights significant criminal justice policy changes at the state level in 2018. Here is how the document gets started: The United States is a world leader in incarceration rates and keeps nearly 7 million persons under criminal justice supervision. More than 2.2 million are in prison or jail, while 4.6 million are monitored in the community on probation or parole. Changes in sentencing law and...
Tags: Law, United States, Douglas A Berman, Nicole Porter


"The Clemency Process Is Broken. Trump Can Fix It."

The title of this post is the title of this notable new Atlantic commentary authored by Rachel Barkow, Mark Holden and Mark Osler.  Here are excerpts: It took six years of intense wrangling to get the First Step Act passed. Clemency reform, however, requires the action of only one man. The president can act alone to fix what Congress did not. ​Even the First Step Act’s primary nemesis, Republican Senator Tom Cotton, has acknowledged a role for clemency, saying as part of his attack on the legis...
Tags: Law, Obama, Congress, White House, Kanye West, Atlantic, Department Of Justice, South Carolina, Tom Cotton, Willie Horton, Douglas A Berman, Weldon Angelos, Prez Trump, Mark Osler, Alice Johnson Prez Trump, Rachel Barkow Mark Holden


Via distinctive 5-4 vote, SCOTUS concludes Florida robbery satisfies "physical force" requirement as Armed Career Criminal Act predicate

In this post last year, I asked "At just what level of Dante's Inferno does modern ACCA jurisprudence reside?".  This cheeky question flows from the challenges and frustrations that surround trying to figure out which prior convictions do and do not serve as predicates for application of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act's 15-year mandatory minimum term.  And today the Supreme Court added still more color to its modern ACCA jurisprudence by handing down its decision in Stokeling v. US, No. 1...
Tags: Florida, Supreme Court, Law, Scotus, Court, US, United States, Johnson, Dante, Thomas, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Douglas A Berman, Thomas J


First scheduled execution of 2019 stayed by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

As reported in this local article, the "Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stopped the state’s first execution of the year, calling for a lower court to take another look at the case following changes in bite-mark science and laws regarding intellectual disability and the death penalty."  Here is more: Blaine Milam received a stay from the court on Monday, a day before his death was scheduled. Milam, 29, was convicted in the brutal death of his girlfriend’s 13-month-old baby girl in 2008 in Ea...
Tags: Texas, Law, U S Supreme Court, Milam, Carson, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals, Rusk County, Douglas A Berman, Elsa Alcala, Kevin Yeary, Sharon Keller, Robert Jennings, Blaine Milam, Amora Carson, Steven Chaney


Spotlighting continuing important debates over marijuana, mental illness and violence

Regular readers know I am quite interested in the intersection of marijuana reform and broader criminal justice issues (which partially accounts for why I have this other blog and this academic center).  So, it should come as no surprise that I have been following with interest the discussions and debates being stirred up by Alex Berenson's new book, "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence."  The publisher's page about the this book highlights reasons why it ...
Tags: Law, United States, New York Times, Uruguay, Malcolm Gladwell, Marshall Project, AG, Berenson, Douglas A Berman, William Barr, Alex Berenson


Seeking reader suggestions for really tough (sentencing) questions for AG nominee William Barr

The Senate confirmation hearing for President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Justice, William Barr, is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning.  The headline of this Los Angeles Times article, "William Barr to face tough Senate hearing on attorney general nomination," predict a "tough" experience for Barr.  But, from my perspective, what could really make the hearing effective is for there to be a lot of sentencing reform and criminal-justice related questions. As the title of this post s...
Tags: Law, Congress, Senate, US, Los Angeles Times, Trump, Bush, George H W Bush, AG, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission, William Barr, Bill Barr, Barr Here


Justice Kavanaugh joins Chief and more liberal Justices in GVR of Kentucky capital case

This morning's Supreme Court order list is fairly short and is mostly denials of certiorari. But the last page of the order list should intrigue capital sentencing fans, and it contains an order in White v. Kentucky, No. 17-9467, in which the Court vacated the decision below "and the case is remanded to the Supreme Court of Kentucky for further consideration in light of Moore v. Texas, 581 U. S. ___ (2017)." This GVR is made extra interesting because Justice Alito issued this short dissent, whic...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, Indiana, Kennedy, Cooper, Webster, Scalia, Moore, Alito, Kavanaugh, Kaushal, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman


California Supreme Court exercises its curious, rarely-used power to reject 10 of out-going Gov's clemencies

I have often said California is a crazy and crazy-interesting state for sentencing developments, and this story about recent clemency developments showcases this reality.  The story is headlined "‘It was like a ton of bricks crushed me’: California grapples with historic clemency rejections," and here are some of the particulars: Joe Hernandez found out that the California Supreme Court had rejected his commutation request late last month during a phone call with his wife, when she checked the ...
Tags: Justice, Supreme Court, Law, California, California Supreme Court, Gavin Newsom, Brown, Hernandez, Santa Clara County, Rosen, Newsom, Jeff Rosen, Joe Hernandez, Douglas A Berman, David Ettinger, Kate Chatfield


"Mandatory minimum sentencing policies and cocaine use in the U.S., 1985–2013"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new research published in the journal BMC International Health and Human Rights and authored by Lauryn Saxe Walker and Briana Mezuk. Here is its abstract: Background As of May 2017, the United States federal government renewed its prioritization for the enforcement of mandatory minimum sentences for illicit drug offenses.  While the effect of such policies on racial disparities in incarceration is well-documented, less is known about the ext...
Tags: Law, United States, Douglas A Berman, ADAA, BMC International Health and Human Rights, Lauryn Saxe Walker, Briana Mezuk


"Prisoner-to-Public Communication"

The title of this post is the title of this recent article just posted to SSRN authored by Demetria Frank.  Here is its abstract: The pervasive problem of over-incarceration in the United States is in part due to lack of correctional facility accountability to the public, and public lack of access to the prisoner experience. In light of the incessant persistence of over-incarceration and “hands off approach” taken by courts in prison administration, this article proposes an unqualified and unfe...
Tags: Law, United States, Douglas A Berman, Demetria Frank Here


New commentary at The American Conservative makes the case for "Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Death Penalty"

In prior posts here and here and here, I highlighted a series of lengthy articles in The American Conservative that were part of "a collaborative series with the R Street Institute exploring conservative approaches to criminal justice reform."   These folks are at it again with this new lengthy essay titled simply "Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Death Penalty."  The extendded essay, authored by Arthur Rizer and Marc Hyden of R Street Institute, merits a full read, and here are some excerpts...
Tags: Law, United States, North Carolina, Justice Department, Philly, Douglas A Berman, R Street Institute, Marc Hyden, Arthur Rizer, The American Conservative


Supreme Court adds three (little?) criminal cases to its docket

The US Supreme Court this afternoon released this order list in which the Court granted certiorari in eight new cases.  Three of these cases are criminal justice matters, and here are the basics with a big assist from SCOTUSblog: Quarles v. United States, No. 17-778 Issue : Whether Taylor v. United States’ definition of generic burglary requires proof that intent to commit a crime was present at the time of unlawful entry or first unlawful remaining, as two circuits hold; or whether it is enou...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Court, United States, Wisconsin, Taylor, US supreme court, Mitchell, Quarles, Douglas A Berman, Rehaif


Are there constitutional (and ethical) issues raised by allowing the family of murder victims to hire lawyers to assist prosecutors as "associate attorneys" in capital prosecution?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this very interesting local article from Kansas headlined "Despite doubts, judge allows private prosecutors in case of two slain deputies."  Here is the story, with one particular line emphasized: Over the objections of defense lawyers, and despite his own misgivings, a Wyandotte County judge said Wednesday he must allow private attorneys to assist in the prosecution of a man charged with killing two sheriff’s deputies. Antoine Fielder, 30, ...
Tags: Law, Kansas, Baths, Kansas Supreme Court, DuPree, Wyandotte County, Douglas A Berman, Rohrer, Mark Dupree, Theresa King, Patrick Rohrer, Antoine Fielder, Tom Bath, Tricia Bath Because Fielder, Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit, Jeff Dazey


"Wealth-Based Penal Disenfranchisement"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article now on SSRN authored by Beth Colgan. Here is its abstract: This Article offers the first comprehensive examination of the way in which the inability to pay economic sanctions—fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution — may prevent people of limited means from voting.  The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of penal disenfranchisement upon conviction, and all but two states revoke the right to vote for at least some offen...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Court, District Of Columbia, Douglas A Berman, Beth Colgan Here


"Reducing Barriers to Reintegration: Fair chance and expungement reforms in 2018"

The title of this post is the title of from the Collateral Consequences Resource Center to document the laws passed in 2018 aimed at reducing barriers to successful reintegration for individuals with a criminal record. Here is the report's executive summary: * In 2018, 30 states and the District of Columbia produced 56 separate laws aimed at reducing barriers faced by people with criminal records in the workplace, at the ballot box, and elsewhere.  Many of these new laws enacted more than one...
Tags: Florida, New York, Law, Colorado, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Louisiana, North Carolina, District Of Columbia, Arizona California, Douglas A Berman


Attorney General Nominee Bill Barr reportedly to support FIRST STEP Act at coming hearing (and should be pressed on particulars)

This effective new Reuters article, headlined "Tough-on-crime record trails U.S. attorney general nominee into Senate hearings," reports on how the new AG-nominee's record on criminal justice issues and recent developments could intersect at next week's confirmation hearings. Here are the details: President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general is expected to tell a Senate panel next week that he supports a new law easing prison sentences for some criminals, even though he advocated ...
Tags: Law, Congress, Washington Post, Senate, Russia, US, Fbi, House, Moscow, Graham, Donald Trump, Doj, Justice Department, Lindsey Graham, Trump, Reuters


"The Accuracy, Equity, and Jurisprudence of Criminal Risk Assessment"

The title of this post is the title of this notable and timely new paper on SSRN authored by Sharad Goel, Ravi Shroff, Jennifer Skeem and Christopher Slobogin.  Here is its abstract: Jurisdictions across the country, including the federal government through its recently enacted First Step Act, have begun using statistical algorithms (also called “instruments”) to help determine an arrestee’s or an offender’s risk of reoffending.  These risk assessment instruments (RAIs) might be used at a numbe...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Christopher Slobogin, Sharad Goel Ravi Shroff Jennifer Skeem


Spotlighting problems with immediate application of expanded good time credit in the FIRST STEP Act

This new Reuters article, headlined "Error in U.S. prisons law means well-behaved inmates wait longer for release," reports on what appears to be a significant drafting hiccup in the expansion of good time credits through the FIRST STEP Act. Here are the details: U.S. prisoners who were expecting earlier release for good behavior, thanks to a new criminal justice law enacted last month, must keep waiting due to an error in the bill, said activists working with the White House to fix the mistake...
Tags: Florida, Law, Congress, Washington, White House, Chicago, Donald Trump, Justice Department, Reuters, AG, Sharon Johnson Coleman, Douglas A Berman, Kevin Ring, Bureau of Prisons BOP, Families Against Mandatory Minimums FAMM, Wyn Hornbuckle


Fourth Circuit affirms officer Michael Slager "conviction" (by a judge at sentencing) of murdering Walter Scott

I noted in posts here and here back in December 2017 that, after the high-profile shooting and then state and federal prosecutions of former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager for killing Walter Scott, the real action in his case became a federal sentencing "trial" after Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense.  This "trial" was really a judicial inquisition in which a federal sentencing judge took testimony at a sentencing hearing in order to decide whether Slager's cr...
Tags: Law, US, United States, South Carolina, Walter Scott, Michael Slager, Scott, Fourth Circuit, Easley, Santana, Slager, Cromartie, North Charleston Police Department, Douglas A Berman


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly to leave Justice Department after new AG is confirmed

As reported here via Reuters, "Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has overseen the Russian election meddling probe, is preparing to leave the U.S. Department of Justice in coming weeks as President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the department is set to take over, a department official said on Wednesday." Here is more: William Barr, Trump’s pick to replace Sessions who was fired soon after the November midterm congressional elections, is set to appear for a confirmation hearing ne...
Tags: Law, Senate, White House, Russia, Fox News, Donald Trump, Justice Department, Trump, Sanders, Reuters, Senate Judiciary Committee, U S Department of Justice, Moscow Russia, George H W Bush, AG, Barr


Florida Supreme Court confirms Sixth Amendment rights still of sentencing consequence

Though decided a few weeks ago, I just recently saw the notable Florida Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Florida, No. SC18-323 (Fla. Dec. 20, 2018) (available here). Here is how it begins: We review the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Brown v. State, 233 So. 3d 1262 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017). In Brown, the Fifth District expressly declared valid section 775.082(10), Florida Statutes (2015), which requires that a qualifying offender whose sentencing scoresheet totals 22 points or fewer be ...
Tags: Florida, Law, State, Brown, Legislature, Florida Supreme Court, Blakely, Fla, Fifth District, Douglas A Berman, Fifth District Court of Appeal


US Sentencing Commission releases big new report on "Intra-City Differences in Federal Sentencing Practices"

The US Sentencing Commission has just released its second big research report of the new year with this 138-page report titled "Intra-City Differences in Federal Sentencing Practices." (The main text of the report is less than 30 pages, with the other 100+ full of detailed appendices.)  This USSC webpage provides links, an overview and conclusions from the report: Overview This report examines variations in sentencing practices — and corresponding variations in sentencing outcomes — in the fe...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, United States, Commission, Booker, USSC, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission, Booker The United States Sentencing Commission, Continuing Impact of United States, Booker Period


Spotlighting criminal-justice debt and its profound impact on the poorest Americans

The New York Times magazine has this lengthy new article about criminal justice debt under this full headline: "How Cities Make Money by Fining the Poor: In many parts of America, like Corinth, Miss., judges are locking up defendants who can’t pay — sometimes for months at a time." I recommend the piece in full, and here is a snippet: No government agency comprehensively tracks the extent of criminal-justice debt owed by poor defendants, but experts estimate that those fines and fees total tens...
Tags: New York, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, Oregon, Alabama, America, West, New York Times, Louisiana, Washington State, Ross, National Public Radio, American Civil Liberties Union, Corinth, Southern Poverty Law Center


Calling her life sentence "too harsh," Tennessee Gov grants commutation to Cyntoia Brown to be paroled after serving 15 years for juve killing

As reported in this local article, "Gov. Bill Haslam ordered an early release for Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman and alleged sex trafficking victim serving a life sentence in prison for killing a man when she was 16."  Here is more about a high-profile clemency grant in a high-profile case: Haslam granted Brown a full commutation to parole on Monday. Brown will be eligible for release Aug. 7, 15 years after she fatally shot a man in the back of the head while he was lying in bed beside her. S...
Tags: Law, Rihanna, Tennessee, Kim Kardashian West, Brown, Allen, Bill Haslam, Haslam, Johnny Allen, Douglas A Berman, Ms Brown, Cyntoia Brown, East Nashville Sonic


Purported SCOTUS originalists and liberals, showing yet again that they are faint-hearted, refuse to consider extending jury trial rights to restitution punishments

I noted in this post the array of per curiam rulings and statements that the Supreme Court released today to get 2019 off to an interesting criminal justice start.  Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that one particular decision, namely the decision to deny certiorari in Hester v. US, has me revved up.  Hester involves a claim that the Sixth Amendment jury trial right recognized in Apprendi, Blakely, Booker and Southern Union is applicable to cases in which findings are essential for...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington, US, America, United States, Smith, Kennedy, Jones, Commonwealth, Thomas, Henry Viii, State, Somerville, Roberts, Ginsburg


Supreme Court order list full of (state-friendly) criminal justice per curiams and notable cert denial with statements

The Supreme Court is full back in action for the New Year, beginning with this new long order list with the always-expected long list of denials of certiorari and denials of rehearing. But the list also includes these two notable per curiam rulings: City of Escondido v. Emmons, No. 17-1660, which summarily reverses/vacates a Ninth Circuit ruling that two officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in a excessive force case. Shoop v. Hill, No. 18-56, which summarily vacates a Sixth Circuit ...
Tags: Sixth Circuit, Supreme Court, Law, US, Georgia, Ohio, Ginsburg, Alito, Ninth Circuit, Sotomayor, Emmons, Kagan, Escondido, Hester, Shoop, Gorsuch


Two helpful reviews of the FIRST STEP Act and what it does (and does not do)

I have seen two recent reviews of the politics, policy, practicalities and potential of the FIRST STEP Act.  Here are links to the two helpful pieces, with a small excerpt from each: From the Brennan Center, "How the FIRST STEP Act Became Law — and What Happens Next" The FIRST STEP Act changes the conversation on mass incarceration The FIRST STEP Act is a critical win in the fight to reduce mass incarceration. While the bill is hardly a panacea, it’s the largest step the federal government has ...
Tags: Law, White House, Trump, Bureau of Prisons, Bop, Douglas A Berman, SRCA


Some New Year highlights from Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

It has only been a few weeks since I did a round-up of posts of note from my blogging over at Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform, but a recent post round-up is timely given the interesting discussions that the end if 2018 and start of 2019 have engendered. So: Effective accounting of Top 5 marijuana reform developments in 2018 (with a couple extra added for emphasis) An informed accounting of those states "Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2019" Will 2019 really be the "year of weed"? How c...
Tags: Law, Colorado, Washington, Douglas A Berman


"Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Punishment"

The title of this post is the title of this paper recently posted to SSRN authored by Johannes Buckenmaier, Eugen Dimant, Ann-Christin Posten and Ulrich Schmidt. Here is its abstract: This paper presents the first controlled economic experiment to study celerity, i.e. the effectiveness of swiftness of punishment in reducing illicit behavior.  We consider two dimensions: timing of punishment and timing of the resolution of uncertainty regarding the punishment.  We find a surprising u-shaped rela...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Ulrich Schmidt



November - 2018
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
December - 2018
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      
January - 2019
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031