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August 27, 2014

Materials for sentencing role play ... and seeking voluteers to represent the state and the defendants

Below for downloading is a copy of the PreSentencing Report (PSRs) for Rachel Foster and Dan Schayes.  I will also bring a few hard-copy versions for distribution in class on Friday.  

Please use the comments to this post (or send me an e-mail) to volunteer to be prosecutors or defense attorneys in this (fun) exercise.  First-come, first-serve for volunteers for particular positions, and I will assign persons to these roles on

Also available below is a form all judges should use for sentencing Rachel Foster and Dan Schayes (everyone who is not serving as a lawyer in this role play gets to be a judge).  There is no need (or place) to put a name on the form, but I will collect them after our sentencing hearings in class on Wednesday, Sept 3. 

As you will see when you download the form, I wish to encourage judges to develop tentative ideas about what sentence before coming to class to hear the advocates' presentations.  By doing so, judges can get a better sense for whether and how advocacy can have an impact in this kind of setting.

Download 2014 Role Play PSRs

Download 2014 Sentencing Form

UPDATE:  As I mentioned in class on Friday, for purposes of our sentencing role-play exercise on Thursday, both the lawyers and judges of Oliwood should assume that the great state of Oliwood has adopted the first two subsections of US Code, Title 18, Section 3553(a) as a guide for sentencing advocacy and decision-making by Oliwood judges.   (In other words, lawyers and judges should focus on the substantive provisions of 3553(a)(1) and 3553(a)(2), but should not worry about all the subsequent sections of 3553(a).)

August 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 25, 2014

Interesting prior posts from prior years discussing theories of punishment

To proidve still more proof that a lot of interesting materials (and interesting student commentary) can be found by mining the archives of this blog, I have mined the archives to provide these links to posts from prior years discussing the theories of punishment we are (too) quickly reviewing this week:

From 2010:

From 2013:

I realize that I have now already provided two links to the same post asking if the US Constitution favors any particular theory of punishment, but that perhaps is a fitting way to help us getting a running start on our coming discussion of Graham v. Florida.  

August 25, 2014 in Class reflections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2014

Welcome to the Moritz, Criminal Law with Berman, and version 5.0 of this class blog

As some of you may already know, I am a big fan of law blogs and I now make a pretty regular habit of use blogs to support and supplement my instruction in law school classes.  Sometimes class blogs serve my purposes and goals well; other times, not so much.  Undaunted, I remain convinced (but not entirely confident) that the blog technology (rather than a propriety law-school-support technology like TWEN) provides the best on-line tool for supporting and supplement law school courses.

I will continue my bloggy ways in the Fall 2014 semester at the Moritz College of Law through this blog to supplement our first-semester 1L small-section Crim Law course.  And, as the version 5.0 label highlights, I have built this "new" blog directly atop the blog I used when teaching this very same course thrice before (in Fall 2008, Fall 2010 and Fall 2013) and when teaching a Comparative Criminal Procedure course (in Summer 2012).  

I am hopeful that some new 1Ls will benefit from (or at least find reassuring) seeing some of the posts (and comments) that were generated in this forum at other times.   Current users might focus especially on the archives from Aug-Dec 2008, Aug-Dec 2010 and Aug-Dec 2013 to see some of the "action" in this class from the last three times I taught it.  

So, welcome to the latest re-launch of this 1L Crim Law blogging adventure. I am always pleased when this blog helps to promote a distinct type of student engagement, and it also provides an effective means for me to share both required and optional materials and ideas.




P.S.:  To provide proof that mining the blog archives can be useful, here are some items from deep in this blog's archives you might already find interesting or useful.  For example, two prior posts and the student comments thereto (one from Aug 2008 and the other from Aug 2010) might be worthwhile as you gear up for our first week of class discussions:

In addition, in the archives from 2008, one can find these links to another of my favorite law blogs providing lots and lots of (old but still timely) advice for incoming 1Ls:













August 15, 2014 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack