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


"The Unified Theory of Punishment"

The title of this post is the title of this new revised book chapter authored by Thom Brooks now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract: Most of the history of the philosophy of punishment is about our making choice of which theory to support and defend against all the rest.  Over time, there have been several attempts aiming to bring two or more theories together in new hybrid formulations.  This penal pluralism can be too quickly dismissed as conceptually contradictory.  At face value, ther...
Tags: Law, Hegel, Douglas A Berman, Thom Brooks

Federal government completes its sixth execution in 2020

Prior to 2020, the federal government executed only three persons in over half a century.  But thanks largely to the efforts and persistence of US Attorney General William Barr, the feds as of tonight have been able to complete double that many executions in just the year 2020.  This AP story about the latest execution, headlined "US government executes killer obsessed with witchcraft," includes these details: The U.S. government on Tuesday executed a former soldier who said an obsession with w...
Tags: Law, US, Georgia, Ap, Terre Haute Indiana, Douglas A Berman, William Barr, Lecroy, William Emmett LeCroy, Joann Lee Tiesler, Christopher Vialva, Cherrylog Georgia

Another accounting of Justice Ginsburg's criminal justice legacy

I receive via email from Arizona State College of Law's Academy for Justice a terrific review (with links) of some of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg major work in criminal justice cases during her tenure on the Court, as well as some leading scholarship discussing this work. I got permission to reprint this collection here, so: Some of Justice Ginsburg's Criminal Justice Opinions : Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U.S. ___ (2019) (Excessive Fines Clause) Perry v. New Hampshire, 565 U.S. 228 (2012) (eyewitne...
Tags: Florida, Law, Alabama, Indiana, United States, New Hampshire, Arizona, New Mexico, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Terry, Miller, Thomas, Perry, Ginsburg, Chandler, Shelton

"Virtual Reality: Prospective Catalyst for Restorative Justice"

The title of this post is the title of this new article now on SSRN authored by Kate Bloch. Here is its abstract: A 2018 U.S. Department of Justice report assessing data from 30 states found that 83% of individuals released from state prisons in 2005 were rearrested within nine years.  When a revolving door ushers five of six individuals back into custody and decimates communities, more effective approaches to criminal justice demand attention.  In countries around the world, restorative justic...
Tags: Law, U S Department of Justice, Douglas A Berman, SSRN, Restorative Justice, Kate Bloch

Pending federal executions to be first SCOTUS matters to be resolved without the late Justice Ginsburg

As reported in this CBS News piece, a "former U.S. soldier who said an obsession with witchcraft led him to slay a Georgia nurse in a bid to lift a spell he believed she put on him is the first of two more inmates the federal government is preparing to put to death this week."  Here is more about this and another federal execution scheduled for the coming days: William Emmett LeCroy, 50, on Tuesday would be the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection this year at the U.S. prison in Te...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Cbs News, Georgia, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US supreme court, Trump, Ginsburg, Terre Haute Indiana, Douglas A Berman, Lecroy, William Emmett LeCroy, Joann Lee Tiesler, Christopher Vialva, Navajo Critics

Notable research from Pennsylvania on positive pardon consequences

I just came across this interesting webpage at the site of the group Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. The page highlights a pair of reports about the consequences of pardons in the state over a decade. Here is the summary from site: In April 2020, the Economy League issued a pathbreaking report, finding that pardons issued over a ten-year period (2008-2018) had contributed $16.5 million to Pennsylvania’s economy, and urged the Board of Pardons to increase the number of pardon applicants,...
Tags: Law, Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, Douglas A Berman, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, Economy League, PLSE, Ryan Allen Hancock, Tobey Oxholm Click

Big new NPR investigation showing pulmonary edema in executed inmates suggests a painful process

NPR has this interesting and extended new piece about the medical realities of modern executions under the headline "Gasping For Air: Autopsies Reveal Troubling Effects Of Lethal Injection."  The who piece should be reviewed in full for anyone who follows closely the debates over execution methods, and I am pleased to see that the piece discusses the ground-breaking litigation that has been pioneered by Allen Bohnert, a federal public defender who represents Ohio inmates with upcoming executions...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, United States, Ohio, Npr, Emory University Hospital, Edgar, Douglas A Berman, Allen Bohnert, Zivot, Zivot He, Georgia Arkansas Missouri Tennessee

"Wage Theft Criminalization"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article authored by Benjamin Levin now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract: Over the past decade, workers’ rights activists and legal scholars have embraced the language of “wage theft” in describing the abuses of the contemporary workplace.  The phrase invokes a certain moral clarity: theft is wrong.  The phrase is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Increasingly, it has a specific content for activists, politicians, advocates, and ac...
Tags: Law, United States, Douglas A Berman, Benjamin Levin

Spotlighting notable series of substantive reasonableness reversals by the Sixth Circuit

A helpful reader sent me this thoughtful review of some notable recent reasonableness rulings by the Sixth Circuit: The review of sentences for substantive reasonableness is often thought of as toothless, or as a “one-way ratchet” toward more severe sentences.  Of the countless appeals challenging sentences as overly harsh, only a couple of dozen have prevailed.  (Government appeals challenging sentences as too lenient seem to have found more success).  Appellate courts have been far more willin...
Tags: Sixth Circuit, Law, United States, Rand Paul, Warren, Lee, Brown, Douglas A Berman, Stranch, Perez Rodriguez, Eastern Districts of New York

"Due Process in a Fee-Driven State"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article now available via SSRN authored by Penny White and Glenn Harlan Reynolds.  Here is its abstract: Inspired by the Justice Department's report on criminal law enforcement and the use of courts as a revenue-generation machine in Ferguson, Missouri, we address the widespread problem of policing for profit in light of two classic Supreme Court cases on due process, and two very recent Court of Appeals cases that focus specifically on th...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Ferguson Missouri, Justice Department, Court of Appeals, Douglas A Berman, SSRN, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Penny White

Noting encouraging new federal compassionate release realities

I am pleased to see this CBS News new article headlined "Compassionate release, once seldom used, offers some federal inmates hope."  Here are excerpts: [C]ompassionate release [was] a once seldom used remedy that allows inmates to receive a reduction in their sentence. The process, which is only used in extraordinary circumstances, has seen an uptick during the coronavirus pandemic.... Petitions for compassionate release were rarely approved prior to the passing of the First Step Act in Decemb...
Tags: Law, Cbs News, Johnson, Justice Department, Trump, Michael Cohen, Barr, Bureau of Prisons, Douglas A Berman, U S Sentencing Commission, Kevin Ring, Paul Manafort, Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, William Barr, Sumterville Florida, Saferia Johnson

In (sentencing) memoriam: noting a few major sentencing majority opinions by Justice Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to be a Justice when I was still in law school, so it has been a very long time since I have thought about a Supreme Court without her voice and views being integral to the Court's work.  And, as I noted in this post last night, she was literally the critical swing vote in US v. Booker to give us the advisory guideline system that has defined the federal sentencing for over fifteen years. Though Justice Ginsburg did not write an opinion in Booker, she wr...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, California, Oregon, Court, US, Indiana, United States, Arizona, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Booker, Ginsburg, Cunningham, Kimbrough, Douglas A Berman, Timbs

Saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who gave us advisory federal sentencing guidelines

I was sad to see this news this evening: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington.  She was 87.  Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.... Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg’s passing.  “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague.  Today we mourn, ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington, US, Bill Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Booker, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, Douglas A Berman, Virginia Military Institute

"In the Shadows: A Review of the Research on Plea Bargaining"

The title of this post is the title of from the Vera Institute of Justice.  Here is part of the report's introduction: In whatever form it takes, plea bargaining remains a low-visibility, off-the-record, and informal process that usually occurs in conference rooms and courtroom hallways — or through private telephone calls or e-mails — far away from the prying eyes and ears of open court.  Bargains are usually struck with no witnesses present and made without investigation, testimony, imparti...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Vera Institute of Justice Here, Vera Institute of Justice Vera

"Public opinion and the politics of collateral consequence policies"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article authored by Travis Johnston and Kevin Wozniak recently published in Punishment & Society.  Here is its abstract: We analyze data from a national sample of the U.S. population to assess public support for policies that deny former offenders’ access to job training programs, food stamps, and public housing. We find that Americans generally oppose benefit restrictions, though support for these policies is higher among Republicans and ...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Travis Johnston, Kevin Wozniak

At re-re-re-sentencing, Amy Locane gets eight years in New Jersey state prison for drunk driving vehicular manslaughter

Because it is such an interesting case (and perhaps because I watched Melrose Place way back when), I have blogged repeatedly about the sentencings saga of Amy Locane after her conviction in a tragic and deadly drunk driving case.  Today, Locane was sentenced for the fourth time in this matter, and this Fox News piece provides the details: Amy Locane has been resentenced to eight years in state prison for a fatal 2010 drunk driving crash that occurred in New Jersey. The former “Melrose Place” a...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Fox, New Jersey, Princeton, Somerville, Montgomery Township, State Superior Court, Douglas A Berman, Amy Locane, Fred Seeman, Locane, Seeman, Borkowski, Helene Seeman, James Wronko

Finding a silver lining in new report on Prez Trump's disappointing nominees to US Sentencing Commission

The Marshall Project has this new mostly depressing article about the troubling slate of US Sentencing Commission nominees announced by Prez Trump last month (basics here).  Even the headline of the piece, "Before Election, Trump Tries To Stack Prison-Sentencing Agency With Right Wing Allies," is telling and depressing since the US Sentencing Commission should be a whole lot more than a "Prison-Sentencing Agency" even though this is a disconcertingly fitting descriptor.  In any event, ever eager...
Tags: Utah, Florida, Law, Kentucky, Senate, Virginia, US, Reagan, Pennsylvania, Gop, Iowa, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, Graham, Beltway, Mike Lee

BOP reported federal prison population ticks up for first time in COVID era

Regular readers know that I have been closely watching COVID-era changes in the federal prison population because of dramatic declines in the federal Bureau of Prisons' weekly updated "Total Federal Inmates" numbers.  At the start if the COVID era, the reported federal prison population was around 175,000.  But, as I highlighted in a series of prior posts, according to BOP's reporting, most weeks through much of the spring the federal prison population shrunk around or over 1,000 persons per wee...
Tags: Law, USSC, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission

Can a modest federal bail reform bill with bipartisan sponsorship become law in these crazy times?

I do not blog much about bail reforms issues, though these topics were quite "hot" even before the pandemic and these issues seem even more pressing now.  And given notable research documenting a link between federal pretrial release and sentencing outcomes, I am particular interested in the new bill filed earlier this month as discussed in this press release: U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Coons (D-DE), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced t...
Tags: Law, Senate Judiciary Committee, Chris Coons, Douglas A Berman, Due Process Institute, Dick Durbin D IL Mike Lee

"Toward Shared Safety: The First-Ever National Survey of America’s Safety Gaps"

The title of this post is the title of from the Alliance for Safety and Justice.  Here is how the report's Executive Summary gets started: Toward Shared Safety: The First-Ever National Survey of America’s Safety Gaps is a first-of-its-kind national study of Americans’ unmet safety needs and public safety policy preferences.  In a moment of unprecedented change — and growing consensus on the need for new approaches to public safety — this report aims to fill critical gaps in information, to hel...
Tags: Law, America, Douglas A Berman, Alliance for Safety and Justice Here

DPIC releases big new report on "Enduring Injustice: the Persistence of Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Death Penalty"

The Death Penalty Information Center this morning released this big new report highlighting the history of racialized application of the ultimate punishment in the US.  This DPIC press release partially summarizes its coverage and context, and here are excerpts: As social movements pressure policymakers to redress injustices in the criminal legal system and to institute reforms to make the process more fair and equitable, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) today released, “Enduring Inj...
Tags: Law, US, United States, North Carolina, Naacp, Jim Crow, Death Penalty Information Center, Douglas A Berman, DPIC, Robert Dunham DPIC, Criminal Justice Programs, Ndulue, Death Penalty Information Center DPIC, Ngozi Ndulue DPIC

"Conviction, Imprisonment, and Lost Earnings: How Involvement with the Criminal Justice System Deepens Inequality"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new report from the Brennan Center. A Foreword to report was authored by Joseph Stiglitz, and here is part of its text: America is approaching a breaking point.  For more than four decades, economic inequality has risen inexorably, stunting productivity, weakening our democracy, and leaving tens of millions struggling to get by in the world’s most prosperous country.  The crises that have rocked the United States since the spring — the coronav...
Tags: Law, America, United States, Brennan Center, Douglas A Berman, Joseph Stiglitz

Making the case for independent oversight of the federal Bureau of Prisons

Kevin Ring has this effective new Hill commentary headlined "Congress should support independent oversight of federal prisons." I recommend the full piece, and here are excerpts: If the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) can ignore a United States senator with impunity, what chance does an average citizen with a loved one in prison have of getting their concerns addressed?  The answer is likely none.  It’s time for Congress to address the BOP’s lack of accountability and transparency by creating a...
Tags: New York, Texas, Law, Congress, United States, New Jersey, Justice Department, Rubio, Senate Judiciary Committee, Coleman, Legionnaire, Sen Marco Rubio R Fla, Phil Murphy, Bureau of Prisons, Bop, Douglas A Berman

Bureau of Justice Statistics reports encouraging crime declines in release of results of 2019 National Crime Victimization Survey

As reported in this press release and as fully detailed in this 53-page report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has just published the results from its annual survey of households about their experiences with crime. Notably, most other reports about crime rates are based on crimes reported to police, but this annual survey in different: "TheNCVS is the nation's largest crime survey and collects data on nonfatal crimes both reported and not reported to police." Here are some of the statistical h...
Tags: Law, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, Douglas A Berman, Bjs, NCVS

"Revisiting Hate Crimes Enhancements in the Shadow of Mass Incarceration"

The title of this post is the title of authored by Shirin Sinnar and Beth A. Colgan.  Here is its abstract: Although civil rights advocates have largely supported hate crimes laws over the last four decades, growing concern over mass incarceration is now leading some to question the focus on enhancing prison sentences.  This Essay explores two alternatives to the traditional sentence enhancement model that might retain the expressive message of hate crimes laws — to convey society’s particula...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Shirin Sinnar, Beth A Colgan Here

The new death penalty: The Marshall Project reporting COVID prisoner deaths exceed 1000

In this post back in May, I started what became a series of posts in which I noted what might be called a new kind of death penalty for prison and jail inmates in the United States: by killing many hundreds of incarcerated persons, COVID-19 has turned all sorts of other sentences into functional death sentences.  In prior postings, I have often flagged the death data from the UCLA Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project, but today I see that The Marshall Project has updated data here showing that pris...
Tags: Law, California, US, Georgia, United States, Albany, Ucla, Douglas A Berman, COVID, Lee State Prison, Anthony Cheek

Highlighting the need for, and the support for, reforming mass community supervision

Jessica Jackson's new USA Today piece, headlined "The expensive burden of parole, probation unjustly places people in a second prison," highlights why community supervision is another form of mass punishment that needs reform attention.  Here are excerpts: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 4.4 million Americans were on probation or parole in 2018, approximately twice the number of people incarcerated in the United States.  [And] more than 75% were under supervision for nonvi...
Tags: Law, United States, Louisiana, Usa Today, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, Jessica Jackson, Douglas A Berman, Mississippi California

A timely reminder that the war on drugs, and even the war on marijuana, is not anywhere close to over

Just last night I flagged here a new article by Michael Vitiello about the "war on drugs" and extreme sentences for drug crimes.  And this morning I saw this news article from Kansas this past week that provides a reminder that the US drug war as operationalized through extreme sentences even for marijuana offenses remains a very current reality for far too many.  The piece is headlined "Man serving 7.5 years on marijuana case says Kansas’ sentencing laws aren’t just," and here are excerpts: A ...
Tags: Law, Colorado, US, Missouri, Lexus, Manhattan, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Hyundai, Bosch, Joseph, Salina, Wilkerson, Westmoreland, Kansas Department of Corrections

"The War on Drugs: Moral Panic and Excessive Sentences"

The title of this post is the title of this new article now available via SSRN and authored by Michael Vitiello.  Here is its abstract: The United States’ War on Drugs has not been pretty. Moral panic has repeatedly driven policy when states and the federal government have regulated drugs.  Responding to that panic, legislators have authorized severe sentences for drug offenses.  By design, Article III gives federal judges independence, in part, to protect fundamental rights against mob rule.  ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, United States, Two Supreme Court, Douglas A Berman, SSRN, Solem, Michael Vitiello, Helm the Supreme Court

"Have Problem Solving Courts Changed the Practice of Law?"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Cynthia Alkon now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract: Drug courts started thirty years ago in the United States.  The introduction of these courts brought high hopes that they would refocus our criminal legal system to therapeutic and rehabilitative methods while moving away from an otherwise largely punitive and punishment-oriented approach.  Has this happened?  Has the problem-solving court movement brought widespread ch...
Tags: Law, United States, Douglas A Berman, Cynthia Alkon

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