November 27, 2016
A formal agenda for our final THREE classes to ensure we stay on task and cover the federal guideline sentencing system
Despite this prior post intended to help ensure we stayed on task in class, the energies of the post-election period — and my own struggle with figuring out what should be a sentencing priority in a Trumpian world — led me to fail badly in this regard before Turkey Day. But a personal and temporal break, and especially the (sad) reality that we only have a final three classes together, should help me be a sentencing task master in our remaining minutes together.
To that end, I am here presenting a formal agenda for our final classes to ensure everyone knows where I want us to be headed and also to make sure you all can do the essential out-of-class work/reading:
Monday, Nov 28: Briefly review my "textbook" behavior; review option(s)/deadline(s) for final mini-paper(s); discuss the pre-modern reform sentencing of Rob Anon. Remember for the last item on this agenda, you must all come to class with an exact sentence you wish to impose on Rob Anon assuming you are a sentencing judge sentencing him under federal sentencing law in 1975. Remember that in 1975 federal prisoners were eligible for parole but only after serving at least 1/3 of the formal sentence announced at initial sentencing and when there were no federal mandatory minimum sentencing terms.
Tuesday, Nov 29: Answer questions regarding option(s)/deadline(s) for final mini-paper(s); review rules for final paper; review lessons from pre-modern reform sentencing of Rob Anon and start unpacking intricacies of pre-Booker federal guideline sentencing of Rob Anon (say circa 2000). Figuring out what Rob Anon's federal sentencing guideline range would be under applicable laws can be aided by some of the discussion and links in this prior blog posting which inspired(?) students in March 2015 to work through Rob Anon's guideline calculations.
Wednesday, Nov 30: Discuss insights and lessons from pre-modern reform and pre-Booker federal guideline sentencing of Rob Anon; unpacking the why and how of Booker's changes to the substance and style of federal sentencing, especially with respect to "Who-ville." If time permits, focus on the particulars of the BridgeGate defendants' upcoming federal sentencings (some background here).....
AND IF TIME PERMITS Wrap up all course themes; review final class requirements; map out a plan for effective sentencing analyses and reform in a Trumpian world; reflect on low-stress, high-learning environments.
UPDATE: I had the last entry pegged for Monday, Dec. 5, but Ashley in the comments clarified that next Monday is a constructive Thursday. Ergo, it seems we only have 150 minutes left together, and so I will need to be even more focused throughout the next three classes.
November 15, 2016
Staying on task and clarification of MP3 options
Remember, wonderful and patient and understanding students, that we are finally going to (try to) return to our usual programming by working on the sentencing or Rob Anon. Specifically, it is very important that you come to class today (Tuesday) with an exact sentence you wish to impose on Rob Anon assuming you are a sentencing judge sentencing him under federal sentencing law in 1975 when federal prisoners were eligible for parole but only after serving at least 1/3 of the formal sentence announced at initial sentencing and when there were no federal mandatory minimum sentencing terms.
In addition to talking about your sentencing decision(s), I also will try to clarify the mini-paper options (and the reasons you have options), which are based a bit on these two recent posts on my main blog:
November 8, 2016
Gearing up for figuing the (right?) sentence for the various convicted "Bridgegate" federal criminals
As I mentioned in class today, our coming exploration of the federal sentencing system will be based in part on using the real-world "Bridgegate" case into a real-world sentencing exercise. To get started in preparation to that end, I recommend some review of at least the following two links:
This Wikipedia page, titled "Fort Lee lane closure scandal" provides lots of background on the scandal, at it provides this very helpful initial summary of the crime and the three protagonists now facing federal sentencing:
The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, or Bridgegate, is a U.S. political scandal in which a staff member and political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) colluded to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing lanes at the main toll plaza for the upper level of the George Washington Bridge.
The problems began on Monday, September 9, 2013, when two of three toll lanes for a local street entrance were closed during morning rush hour. Local officials, emergency services, and the public were not notified of the lane closures, which Fort Lee declared a threat to public safety. The resulting back-ups and gridlock on local streets ended only when the two lanes were reopened on Friday, September 13, 2013, by an order from Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye. He said that the "hasty and ill-informed decision" could have endangered lives and violated federal and state laws.
The ensuing investigations centered on several of Christie's appointees and staff, including David Wildstein, who ordered the lanes closed, and Bill Baroni, who had told the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee that the closures were for a traffic study.
The United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman launched a massive federal investigation, resulting in a sweeping nine-count indictment against Bridget Anne Kelly, the deputy chief of staff, Baroni and Wildstein. Wildstein entered a guilty plea, and testified against Baroni and Kelly, who were found guilty on all counts in November 2016.
The copy of the plea agreement in which Mr. Wildstein agreed to plead guilty and which also has a copy of his charging "information."