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Mandatory Sentencing

Rules shackle piumini moncler outlet judges’ handsCriticism: The two decade old moncler saldi outlet mandatory term requirements are under fire from judges, although political support outlet moncler seems stronger.The problem was this. In one federal courtroom, a judge handed out a sentence of 10 years. In another, someone charged with the same crime got a two year sentence.”The feeling was judges simply had too much discretion,” says Erik Luna, an associate professor at the University of Utah College of Law. „You had Hang ’em High Harry’ and „Set ’em piumini moncler uomo Loose Bruce.'”The solution, crafted in the 1980s by a coalition of senators that stretched across a broad piumini moncler spectrum from Strom Thurmond to Edward M. Kennedy, was a set of regulations designed to ensure that the punishment fits the crime.Two piumini moncler scontatissimi decades later, many think the federal mandatory sentencing guidelines are not working.In the past few months, there has been a minirevolt against the guidelines among federal judges in New York, where one judge noted them as a reason for his early retirement, another moncler bambino outlet was removed from a drug case because of his criticism of the guidelines, and another sought to block a provision of the sentencing guidelines statute that gives Congress access to certain court records.Recently, 27 federal judges from around moncler donna the country signed a statement calling moncler outlet serravalle for repeal of the guidelines. And Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist used his end of the year assessment of the state of the judiciary to lash out at Congress’ latest sentencing requirement.”The intentions were good,” Luna says of the sentencing guidelines. „But they fulfill the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”Says Frederic N. District Court in Baltimore and a teacher at the University of Maryland School of Law: „One law Congress can’t change is the law of unintended consequences.”The criticism of the mandatory sentencing guidelines are legion: that in trying to make the punishment fit moncler outlet trebaseleghe the crime, they do not make it fit the criminal; that they jam federal prisons with people who shouldn’t be there; that they rob judges of the ability to do their job to exercise judicial discretion.But political support for the guidelines seems to get stronger. Last year, Congress put an amendment on the popular Amber Alert law aimed at tracking down kidnapped children that requires the Justice Department to keep a list of judges who squeeze through one of the guidelines’ small moncler saldi loopholes and give out sentences that are below those mandated.This is what infuriated Rehnquist, who said that compiling the list „could appear to be an unwarranted and ill considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties.”James Whitman, a professor at Yale Law School, says he expects such criticism to fall on deaf ears. „It is very easy moncler bambino saldi to run on a tough on crime platform,” he says of politicians who champion such measures as this list. „That’s how you stir up voters. It is very hard to moncler bambino saldi feel sympathy for the criminal in the abstract, but when you actually see the individual offender before your eyes, as judges do, you often have a very different reaction.”The differences in those reactions drew the scrutiny of legislators in the 1970s. Those on the right thought judges were being too moncler uomo lenient. Those on the left feared that judges were exhibiting racial and other prejudices in their sentencing. The Justice Department encouraged Congress to do something about it.The result was the 1984 law that set piumini moncler saldi up a commission that came up moncler saldi uomo with the mandatory sentencing guidelines. Criticism often starts with that name. How can they be guidelines if they are mandatory? „It’s a wonderful oxymoron,” says Smalkin.The guidelines went into effect in moncler outlet online shop 1987. Before then, judges received extensive presentencing reports from parole moncler outlet online uomo officials on convicted criminals. They considered a variety of factors before imposing sentence. Crimes carried minimum sentences, moncler outlet but judges had discretion to suspend part of them or to make part served on probation or to take advantage of alternative sentencing options aimed at rehabilitating those deemed worthy.”It was the most soul searching part of a judge’s job,” says Luna. „The determination of guilt, the who done it part, is not as emotionally wrenching as sentencing, considering the question of trying to craft appropriate sanctions, a punishment that is neither too harsh nor too lenient, mindful of the community’s interest and the victim’s.

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