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February 10, 2010

After the snow day... two special guests to talk about federal sentencing practice

During our (cancelled) class on Feb. 10, I was planning to review the basics of federal sentencing law as a prelude to our two pracitioner guests who will be taking over the class on Feb. 17, 2010, when I have to head out of town to participate this symposium about federal sentencing law

Obviously, snow got in the way of my plans.  But I remain confident that our two guests will still be able to facilitate an engaging and informed discussion of federal sentencing practice as long as class members have all read (and re-read) the first part of Chapter 3 in our textbook. 

Also, I can use this space to provide an introduction to our planned guests. Representing the big-firm and/or former prosecutor perspective is Mark D. Harris of Proskauer, whose firm bio includes this description of his practice and background:

Mark D. Harris is a Partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department and co-head of the Appellate Group.  His practice focuses on appellate litigation, criminal enforcement, and complex civil litigation.  He represents institutional and individual clients in connection with government investigations, prosecutions, and civil disputes, with a special emphasis on sentencing....

From 1997 to 2002, Mark served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during which he prosecuted a broad spectrum of federal crimes, including health care fraud, financial fraud, and corporate embezzlement.... He has been a member of the Board of Editors of the Federal Sentencing Reporter since 1996 and is a frequent contributor.

Representing the small-firm perspective is Harlan J. Protass, whose runs his own firm with a bio page that includes this description of his practice and background:

Harlan J. Protass is a committed advocate with close to fifteen years of experience representing individuals and corporations in criminal, regulatory and commercial litigation matters.  He has counseled targets, subjects and witnesses in cases involving securities fraud, insider trading, tax evasion, money laundering, antitrust price-fixing, enterprise corruption, embezzlement and larceny, structuring, perjury and obstruction of justice....

As an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the creator of the Second Circuit Sentencing Blog, Mr. Protass is also a recognized expert in the application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  Mr. Protass regularly challenges guidelines calculations and other sentencing factors, and frequently obtains sentences below recommended guidelines.

Mr. Protass previously served as Special Counsel at O'Shea Partners LLP, and as a litigation associate at Squadron Ellenoff Plesent & Sheinfeld LLP and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.

Students will earn my gratitute (and class participation credit) by using the comment section here to pose some issue or questions they hope to have our guests discuss. 

February 10, 2010 in Class activities | Permalink


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Possible Discussion Topics:

1. All things Civil Contempt, possibly through the lens of Martin Armstrong's experience, SEC v. Princeton Econ. Int'l Ltd., 152 F.Supp.2d 456 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); SEC v. Martin Armstrong, 284 F.3d 404 (2d Cir. 2002).
2. Clerking for the Supreme Court.
3. Any insights with respect to Justice Sotomayor and her jurisprudence.

Posted by: Calvin Fox | Feb 14, 2010 3:48:46 PM

I would be interested in discussing the idea of jury sentencing in noncapital cases and how such a system would theoretically work under the Sentencing Guidelines. Both Justice Stevens in dissent in Booker and Judge Posner, writing for the Seventh Circuit before the Supreme Court took the case, seemed to indicate that having bifurcated trials with respect to guilt and punishment would not be a problem under the Guidelines system. I am curious to see what the guest speakers think about the idea.

Posted by: Steve Kress | Feb 15, 2010 9:57:11 PM

I'm interested to hear about how Mr. Protass challenges the guidelines and sentencing factors to achieve lower sentences and also, since he challenges them, what he thinks would produce better results, if he thinks they need revising. Sorry I'm slow contributing.

Posted by: Meredith | Feb 17, 2010 10:15:13 AM

Does the defense attorney owe a duty of zealous representation to the client? If a tactic is lawful, has some chance of favoring the client, and promotes fairness and truth finding, should the defense attorney do it?

Isn't it a duty under professional standards of due care to demand total e-discovery of the prosecutor's work and home computers, seeking an improper motive? After the first adverse ruling on a defense motion, should there be a demand for discovery of the judge home and work computers, to find evidence of bias and a basis for recusal?

Why is that never done? Would it deter the prosecution, and decrease defense lawyer employment? Isn't the collegiality between prosecution and defense a long term relationship, whereas that with the client is short lived and fungible?

The innocent defendant has to hire a lawyer malpractice specialist to force the defense attorney to carry out the duty of zealous representation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 21, 2010 3:40:49 PM

Some excellent ideas here I don’t have a news blog as such but there are some great tips that I plan to use.

Posted by: Phone Sex | Feb 25, 2010 6:29:50 AM

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