Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Prison Nation: Sentencing Guidelines

Although the piece starts as a "Libby" the bones of the article are about sentencing guidelines and a system running amok, with a little help from the GOP of course.

It was not a good idea to buck this system. In 2002, Minnesota Chief Judge James Rosenbaum, a Reagan appointee, was known as a tough punisher. Then, he had the temerity to testify before the Judiciary Committee about a proposed amendment that, given certain mitigating factors, would allow judges to depart downward from the Guidelines.

Shortly after, Republican members insisted that Rosenbaum turn over his records in cases wherein he might have issued 'lighter' sentences. In one of these, a statute called for a ten year minimum sentence. Sentencing guidelines called for a range of 121-151 months. The judge gave the defendant 120 months in prison, saying "I just sentenced you to one month less than the Guidelines.....more

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