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


 

NY Times op-ed explores "How to Make New York as Progressive on Criminal Justice as Texas"

The New York Times this week has this notable editorial about criminal discovery that bore the provocative (and fitting) headline that I have quoted in the title of this post.  As practitioners know, these discovery issues can have a profound impact on plea practices and sentencing outcomes.  Here are excerpts: In New York, prosecutors operate within a draconian system that gives them free rein to leave defendants in the dark about aspects of their cases for months or even years.  In cases big ...
Tags: New York, Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Brooklyn, New York Times, New Jersey, North Carolina, Criminal Justice, Ny Times, Douglas A Berman


"Mens Rea Reform and Its Discontents"

The title of this post is the title of this great-looking new article authored by Benjamin Levin now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract: This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.”  The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct.  Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully.  Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overc...
Tags: Law, Mens, Mens Rea, Douglas A Berman, Benjamin Levin


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