Monday, April 29, 2013
Baron-Evans & Hillier on the Sentencing Commission's Legislative Agenda to Restore Mandatory Guidelines
Amy Baron-Evans and Thomas W. Hillier II (Federal Public and Community Defenders and Federal Public Defender Office, Western District of Washington) have posted The Commission's Legislative Agenda to Restore Mandatory Guidelines (Federal Sentencing Reporter, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
At a point in time when bipartisan Congressional leaders and the Attorney General are joining in a call to address the unsustainable costs and longstanding injustice associated with over-incarceration under mandatory sentencing rules, the United States Sentencing Commission has released a report on the impact of United State v. Booker, calling for a return to the very pre-Booker policies that caused our current crisis. In its rearview report, the Commission sets forth six recommendations to Congress that would constitute a return to a guideline system that is functionally no different than, and every bit as unconstitutional as, the mandatory system struck down in Booker. The proposals would eviscerate judges’ authority to consider the history and characteristics of the defendant and mitigating circumstances of the offense, and would suppress disagreement with the guidelines and policy statements, all contrary to Supreme Court law. If enacted into law, the proposals would result in years of litigation over their constitutionality and wreak havoc with a fully functional sentencing system to which judges, courts of appeals, probation officers, and lawyers have become accustomed over the past eight years.