Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, members of the Constitution Project's Bipartisan Blue-Ribbon Sentencing Initiative, released principles that urge more focus being placed on proportional punishment. Doug Berman's Sentencing Blog Posts details here. The Preface to the Report states in part:
"The Constitution Project’s Sentencing Initiative was established in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2004 decision in Blakely v. Washington, in which the Court ruled that Washington State’s sentencing guidelines system violated the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial by permitting judges to increase a sentence above a presumptive guideline range based on facts not determined by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court’s decision in Blakely called into question the constitutionality of the federal sentencing guidelines, and on January 14, 2005, the Court held in U.S. v. Booker and U.S. v. Fanfan that the federal guidelines must satisfy Blakely’s Sixth Amendment standards, and that therefore the guidelines must be advisory rather than mandatory.
"To respond to rising concerns about the future of American criminal sentencing, and in particular to concern about the direction of the federal sentencing system, the Constitution Project convened a bipartisan committee of current and former prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, scholars, and other sentencing experts. The group’s co-chairs are Edwin Meese III, Attorney General under President Reagan, and Philip B. Heymann, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton.
"The Committee’s primary objective was to seek consensus on some of the fundamental elements of a sentencing system that achieves both appropriate punishment and crime control. These "Principles for the Design and Reform of Sentencing Systems" are the first step in the Committee’s work. The Committee plans also to release a background report on these principles, to be followed by specific recommendations for a post-Booker federal sentencing scheme.
"These Principles reflect a broad consensus among Committee members with diverse perspectives and experiences. The Committee’s hope is that these Principles, and the forthcoming background report and recommendations, will inform the debates currently being held in Congress and around the country."
(esp) (with thanks to Pal Rosenzweig for providing us with this report)