January 13, 2010
Ideas and suggestions for guest speakers and/or field trips
I mentioned in class that I know folks in and around NYC with lots of different kinds of experiences with state and federal sentencing systems. I am happy and eager to invite these folks to our class to be guest speakers, and I also would like to arrange some field trips to watch, for example, a sentencing in federal district court or a sentencing appeal in an appellate court. But I am eager to arrange speakers and/or field trips (which would require taking up some of your non-class time) only involving people and places and topics that really interest students.
Consequently, I hope all students in the class will try out the comment feature of this blog by indicating what types of guest speakers and/or field trips they would find exciting. Judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys are all obvious (and valuable) possibilities, but perhaps some students have some novel or provocative ideas and suggestions. (Of course, stay realistic: I would love to get Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress and Donte Stallworth all to come to talk about their experiences with different sentencing systems, but my contacts and powers are pretty limited.)
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My first unrealistic idea was Al Sharpton but maybe a spokesperson from his action network?
Posted by: Brian Hannan | Jan 15, 2010 11:03:03 AM
Not sure who, but it'd be interesting to hear from someone with a political perspective when it comes to sentencing legislation. Doesn't necessarily have to be a politician, maybe someone from Vera or a similar organization that can speak to trends/changes in sentencing policy as initiated by the legislative arms of state/federal government.
Posted by: Doug Wallach | Jan 19, 2010 1:13:10 PM
Even though some of the more famous defendants might be out of reach, it could still be interesting to speak with someone who has been sentenced about their experience, how they think the sentence was reached, what it felt like to "be sentenced" (ie, the knowledge that another individual had the power to determine whether and for how long you would be removed from society) and other things along those lines.
On the other side of sentencing, the opportunity to talk to someone on the NY/NJ parole board (or any parole board) or someone who works in or with the governor's office on pardon issues might also be interesting and add to our discussions/perspective.
Posted by: Sarah Lorr | Jan 19, 2010 9:13:27 PM
What about an attorney who has argued any of the recent significant sentencing issues in front of the Supreme Court? We would be able to read up on the case information before he spoke, giving us a more specific understanding of sentencing issues in the context of a particular case than a general lecture on sentencing policy. Additionally, the attorney may be able to give some insight into the current Court's view on the impending sentencing issues we discussed in the last class.
Posted by: John Hamill | Jan 20, 2010 10:27:16 AM
I suggest a field trip to the Roosevelt Hospital Trauma Center. You can see the product of New York's, biased, pro-violent criminal sentencing laws and policies, in the injuries from weapons, car crashes, and gang activity.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 20, 2010 8:28:37 PM