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March 31, 2010

Seeking reactions to Eastern State video and on prison as a sentencing output

Mug-set  As promised, here is a space to enable discussion of today's video about Eastern State Penitentiary and more generally about prisons as out modern default sentencing "output."  If you are interested in learning more about Eastern State, check out this terrific website (and also this special opportunity to get your own ESP "mug-shot" mug shown here).

More broadly, I plan to start our next class together discussing whether there is a modern viable alternative to imprisonment as a default presumptive sentence for most serious crimes.  It would be great if this discussion could get a running start in the comments to this post. 

March 31, 2010 in Scope of imprisonment | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 9, 2010

Specific interest in particular offense conduct and offender characteristics as sentencing factors

Though I am prepared and eager to discuss whichever offense conduct and offender characteristics that students find most interesting as sentencing factors, there are a few factors that I want to give special attention in our class on March 10.  Specifically, in class I will be especially eager to hear your thoughts on these potential sentencing factors:

Offense conduct:  

A.  Role in the offense

B.  Number of images in child porn downloading offense 

C.  Amount of money "at risk" in credit card identity theft

Offender characteristics:

D.  Age

E.  Drug dependence

F.  Military service

Especially if you have strong and/or unique perspectives on any or all of these sentencing factors, feel free to start sharing your views in the comments to this post and be certain to raise you hand and your voice in our coming classes.

March 9, 2010 in Class activities, Offense Conduct | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 4, 2010

Sign up for re-scheduled NY Federal Defender field trip on March 24

As mentioned in class, I have reschedled the snow-postoned invitation to speak with the Federal Defenders of New York, Inc downtown for the afternoon of Wednesday, March 24.  As before, I think the Defenders can host up to five students along with me, so please indicate in the comments if you would like to come to what should be an informative and fun get together.

This session will take place at 1pm, so I suspect the group will need to leave straight from our class to head downtown.  As before, I may try to find a time to connect that afternoon with some NYC federal judges, and I also probably will not be able to avoid migrating over to Chinatown for dinner.  Seminar students are invited (but not at all required) to hang out downtown as long as they wish as part of this "field trip."

March 4, 2010 in Class activities | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Some twists on consideration of acquitted conduct

There are too many stories that surround the concept of acquitted conduct to cover them all, but I wanted to provide some links to some of these stories as recently covered in my main blog for anyone interested in continuing to think about these issues of what offense conduct can/should be considered at sentencing.  Here are just a sample of some coverage:

And, providing an example of the different settings in which this issue can arise is an interesting new Second Circuit ruling in Vega v. Lantz, No. 08-4748 (2d Cir. Mar. 2, 2010) (available here).  In Vega, the panel reverses a district court's ruling granting relief to a Connecticut inmate who complained about his designation as a sex offender based on the fact that he had been acquitted of sexual assault (though convicted of first-degree assault and kidnapping) after horribly abusing a "sixteen-year-old girl, with whom he had a sexual relationship, when he was twenty-nine-years old." 

March 4, 2010 in Class activities, Offense Conduct | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 2, 2010

Supreme Court rules in favor of Curtis Johnson on ACCA issue

As you may recall, we discussed the case and potential sentencing fate of "Tommy Johnson" in our first seminar session this semester.  Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the real defendant, Curtis Johnson, on whom our case facts were based. 

I encourage everyone to read the (relatively short) SCOTUS ruling in Johnson, which is available at this link, and to then think about the various broad "meta-topics" we have discussed in class in light of what the Supreme Court said (and did not say) about Curtis Johnson's case.

March 2, 2010 in SCOTUS cases of note, Supreme Court rulings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack