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


 

"Progressive Algorithms"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Itay Ravid and Amit Haim available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract: Our criminal justice system is broken.  Problems of mass incarceration, racial disparities, and susceptibility to error are prevalent in all phases of the criminal process.  Recently, two dominant trends that aspire to tackle these fundamental problems have emerged in the criminal justice system: progressive prosecution — often defined as elected reform-m...
Tags: Law, Douglas A Berman, Itay Ravid, Progressive Algorithms, Amit Haim


Senate Judiciary Committee advances three criminal justice and sentencing reform bills

I noted in this post last month that the US Senate Judiciary Committee had  plans to take three criminal justice bill: the First Step Implementation Act, the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act, and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act.  This Law360 piece from a few weeks ago reported that, "on a 14-8 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act of 2021."  And the other bill moved forward this past week, as reported in this press release from Senator Grass...
Tags: Law, Congress, Fsa, Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, U S Senate, Grassley, Durbin, Dick Durbin, Douglas A Berman, US Senate Judiciary Committee


Another dive into the ugly BOP realities of federal compassionate release during the pandemic

The Marshall Project has this new piece on federal compassionate release with a full title that captures its essential themes: "31,000 Prisoners Sought Compassionate Release During COVID-19. The Bureau of Prisons Approved 36.  As the pandemic worsened inside federal prisons, officials granted fewer releases." Here are excerpts (with links from the original): Tens of thousands of federal prisoners applied for compassionate release after the virus began sweeping through lockups. But new Bureau of...
Tags: Law, Congress, Bureau, Georgetown, Marshall Project, Carvajal, Scott Taylor, Shon Hopwood, Bureau of Prisons, Bop, Douglas A Berman, U S Sentencing Commission, US Sentencing Commission, Bill Barr, Ken Hyle, Michael Carvajal


Split Indiana Supreme Court finally rules that forfeiture of Tyson Timbs' Land Rover driven to small drug deal was constitutionally excessive

Well over two years ago, as blogged here, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Timbs v. Indiana, 139 S. Ct. 682 (2019), that the that Excessive Fines Clause of Eighth Amendment applies to the states and then said little else about how that limit on punishment was to be applied. Upon remand, as blogged here, the Indiana Supreme Court some months later issued a lengthy opinion explaining its approach to the Clause while remanding case to the state trial court to apply this approach. And yesterda...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Court, Indiana, Dick, State, United States Supreme Court, Indiana Supreme Court, Massa, Ahab, Douglas A Berman, Timbs, Tyson Timbs, Split Indiana Supreme Court, Tyson Timbs Here


How many federal prisoners might now be serving illegal sentences after Borden?

I will be blogging in a future post about just how current federal prisoners serving Armed Career Criminal Act sentences might seek relief from now-illegal long sentences based on the Supreme Court's important ruling in Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here), limiting applicable ACCA precedents.  ( Spoiler : they should not forget "compassionate release" as a means of seeking relief.)  But my inquiry for this post is the preliminary question in the title of this post: ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, US, Borden, ACCA, Douglas A Berman, US Sentencing Commission


Some early coverage of big new SCOTUS ruling limiting ACCA in Borden

A busy day on other matters means I have only had a chance to skim Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here), the big win for the defendant today in an ruling limiting the reach of the Armed Career Criminal Act.  I hope in the coming days to have a lot to say about Borden ruling itself and its possible aftermath, but for now I can and will round up some early press and blog coverage: From Bloomberg Law, "Divided High Court Sides With Defense on Repeat-Offender Law" From C...
Tags: Law, US, Bloomberg, Thomas, Borden, Kagan, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Douglas A Berman, Hill Gorsuch Thomas, New York Times Supreme Court Limits Sweep of Law


US Sentencing Commission releases fascinating (and bare bones) "Compassionate Release Data Report"

I just received an email from the US Sentencing Commission with an alert about new data reports from the USSC.  Any new data from the USSC gets me excited, and I got even more jazzed upon seeing the heading "Compassionate Release Data" followed by this text in the email: With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts received thousands of compassionate release motions. This report provides an analysis of those compassionate release motions decided through December 31, 2020 for which court...
Tags: Law, Commission, USSC, Douglas A Berman, U S Sentencing Commission, US Sentencing Commission


In 5-4 decision, SCOTUS limits reach of ACCA mandatory minimum "violent felony" predicates by holding a "reckless offense cannot so qualify"

The last big SCOTUS sentencing ruling of this Term that I have been eagerly awaiting was (yet another) one concerning application of the Armed Career Criminal Act.  Today the wait was over, as this morning the Court handed down it opinion in Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here).  And it is a big win for the defendant with Justice Kagan authoring the key opinion for four Justices (with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Gorsuch joining), which starts this way: The Armed C...
Tags: Law, Congress, Court, US, United States, Arizona, Johnson, Thomas, Scalia, Borden, Kagan, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman, Breyer Sotomayor


Functional life sentence finally becomes actual life (with eligibility for parole) sentence for person serving longest on death row

Because I love sports statistics and trivia (especially baseball, of course), I cannot avoid being intrigued by records and data even in the much-less-fun world of sentencing.  Consequently, this AP story caught my eye this morning under the headline, "Longest serving death row inmate in US resentenced to life."  Unsurprisingly, the story behind the statistic is fascinating:  The longest serving death row inmate in the U.S. was resentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after prosecutors in Tex...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, US, Houston, Death Penalty Information Center, Livingston, Marcus, Henry, U S Supreme Court, Harris County, Texas Legislature, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, John Henry, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Texas Department of Criminal Justice


A different assessment of "America’s Dangerous Obsession" with innocence on death row

Thirteen years ago, in an article titled , 3 Harv. L.& Pol'y Rev. Online (2008), I explained the basis for my concern that "progressive criminal justice reform efforts concerning innocence issues, abolition of the death penalty, and sentencing disparities may contribute to, and even exacerbate, the forces that have helped propel modern mass incarceration."  That old article feels fresh again upon seeing this new lengthy Atlantic piece by Elizabeth Bruenig titled "America’s Dangerous Obsession W...
Tags: Law, America, Atlantic, United States, University Of Houston, National Academy of Sciences, Douglas A Berman, Elizabeth Bruenig, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Marissa Bluestine, Dangerous Obsession, David R Dow, Texas Innocence Network


"Acquitted. Then Sentenced."

The title of this post is the terrifically economical title of this new commentary authored by Shana O’Toole is the founder and president of the Due Process Institute.  As regular readers surely realize, the commentary focuses on a remarkable sentencing reality that has long troubled me and it discusses the possibility that a legislative fix may be in the works.  Here are excerpts from a piece I recommend (including a footnote that I consider especially important): Imagine being accused of robb...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Judiciary Committee, Douglas A Berman, Due Process Institute, Shana O'Toole, Without Supreme Court


GOP Gov and former DEA chief calls for Congress to "finally and fully end the disparity between crack and cocaine offenses"

In this new Fox News commentary, Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson makes a notable pitch for the EQUAL Act (discussed here).  The piece is headlined "It's time to fix an old wrong and end the disparity between crack and cocaine offenses," and I recommend it in full.  Here are excerpts: In America, the principles of fairness and equal treatment are fundamental to the rule of law.  When we fall short of these principles, we lose confidence in our justice system and weaken the foundation of our country....
Tags: Law, Congress, America, Gop, Arkansas, Fox News, DEA, Donald Trump, Asa Hutchinson, Drug Enforcement Administration DEA, Douglas A Berman, Jeff Sessions R Ala, Sens Dick Durbin D Ill


Prison Policy Initiative highlights data showing "State prisons are increasingly deadly places"

Prison Policy Initiative published today this new report (with helpful charts and data visuals) under the title "New data: State prisons are increasingly deadly places." The subtitle of this report captures the essence of the data discussed in the report: "New data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that state prisons are seeing alarming rises in suicide, homicide, and drug and alcohol-related deaths." Here are some excerpts from the start of the report (with links from original): The ...
Tags: Law, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, State, Bureau of Justice Statistics BJS, Prison Policy Initiative, Douglas A Berman, Mariame Kaba


"Exploring Alternative Approaches to Hate Crimes"

The title of this post is the title of published today by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and Stanford Law School.  I received an email about the publication, which provided this overview: “Exploring Alternative Approaches to Hate Crimes” [is] a comprehensive report that assesses critiques of hate crime laws from communities of color and other targeted communities, and evaluates potential alternative approaches to respond to hate crimes more effectively.  The report addresses the ha...
Tags: Law, Stanford, Brennan Center for Justice, Brennan Center, Stanford Law School, Douglas A Berman, NYU Law, Michael German, Shirin Sinnar, New York City Oakland Calif


Bureau of Justice Statistics releases "Capital Punishment, 2019 – Statistical Tables"

This morning the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics released this new report with data on the administration of capital punishment in the United States through the end of 2019. As I have noted before, though BJS sometimes provides the best available data on criminal justice administration, in the capital punishment arena the Death Penalty Information Center tends to have more up-to-date and more detailed data on capital punishment.  In any event, this new BJS report still provides...
Tags: Texas, Law, California, Pennsylvania, United States, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Death Penalty Information Center, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, New Mexico Supreme Court, Douglas A Berman, Justice Department s Bureau of Justice Statistics