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April 29, 2010

Thanks, work opportunities, final reflections and continued engagement

Though this blog space has not been especially active through the semester, I wanted to do a (last?) post to share some concluding thoughts:

1.  I first wanted to say thanks to all of you for taking a chance by signing up for a seminar with a visiting professor, and also for sticking with the class after it surely became clear to you that I am somewhat unorthodox in my approach to teaching and student engagement. 

2.  I really meant it when I said that anyone who has survived my seminar has an open (and essentially permanent) offer to work with me on my various research projects and/or pro bono practice activities.  Though I cannot always ensure you get paid for your time and energies, I can always ensure that you will have interesting (and generally low-stress) work opportunities.  Especially because modern technology makes it easy to work together on-line from different cities (or even different countries), you should keep in mind that there is significant sentencing work to be found in Berman's office even if you are nowhere near Berman's actual office.

3.  I hope you will consider using the comments to this post (as well as the traditional course evaluations) to share any final reflections you have about either the substance or the style of our course and the assignments you have been asked to complete.  My own reflections include the fact that I found every moment that we spent together in class to be wondrously engaging and productive, and yet I still feel as though I barely scratched the surface concerning all the sentencing themes, issues and doctrines that I had hoped to cover.  (In addition, I am truly quite grumpy that SCOTUS did not issue opinions in any of the major sentencing cases of the current term while we were still together.)

4.  As this post reveals, I remain eager for continued engagement with all of you, not just concerning our course, but also concerning your futures and plans.  Please do not hesitate to keep in touch with me via e-mail, and be extra sure to connect with me if/when you are looking for any professional opportunities in the sentencing arena.

5.  Good luck finishing up you white papers and the rest of this semester.

April 29, 2010 in Class activities | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 27, 2010

Place and space for any final white-paper questions

This post is intended to provide a place and space for questions about the final white-paper assignment.  I will, of course, answer questions about the assignment in our final class and via personal e-mails, but I encourage students to feel comfortable asking questions here so that I can provide answers to questions in a forum that should remain accessible to all through the exam period.

April 27, 2010 in Course requirements, Working on white papers | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reminder about last "formal" class activities (while urging sign-ups)

As mentioned in class last week, our last Wednesday together this semester is packed full of exciting activities.  As mentioned before, I have arranged for US District Judge John Gleeson to come speak with our class, and we are meeting at for breakfast an hour before our class time at the diner on 10th Avenue.  Students are welcome and encouraged to join this morning pre-class meeting (and no sign-up is required).

In addition, after class I am planning to attend (and along with up to 5 students) a special "lunch and learn" event with the new US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, which is taking place at a midtown law-firm starting at 12:30pm.  Students interest in taking this little "field trip" are urged to indicate their interest below ASAP so that I can send a list of names of attendees to the event organizers.

April 27, 2010 in Class activities | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2010

What are essential topics for discussions in our final few weeks of class?

I have arranged for US District Judge John Gleeson to come speak with our class on our final day together (next week, April 28), which means this coming week is essentially our last opportunity to cover formally in class any topic or topics that you are especially eager to discuss.  For that reason, I hope students will use the comments to this post as an opportunity to indicate any and all substantive or procedural sentencing topic(s) that should be on our agenda for our closing time together.

As always, I have plenty of topics/ideas in mind, and I am also hopeful (but not at all confident) that we might finally have a hot new SCOTUS sentencing ruling to discuss this week (as the Justices have announce that new opinions will be handed down on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings).  But I want to make extra sure we devote time to any topic that students are still eager to have formally covered in the classroom.

April 19, 2010 in Class activities, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 14, 2010

Lots and lots of examples of lots and lots of different kinds of sentencing "white papers"

Though not always called a white-paper, all the of documents linked below are examples of the kinds of policy documents I have in mind for the final class paper:

April 14, 2010 in Class activities | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Commenting on each others' mid-term papers...

can and should get started in the comments to this post.  And, upon request (or based on my own assessment of which comments merit added attention), specific comments can and will be transposed into a new post (which in turn can and should enable continued and more focused commentary).

Most essentially, everyone is urged to recommend at least one of the mid-term paper (and as many as appropriate) that you think would merit publication and/or wider circulation either as is ASAP or in some modified form at some future date.

April 14, 2010 in Class activities, Course requirements, Student-assigned readings, Supreme Court rulings | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack