CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bowman on the state of criminal justice policy

Bowman frank Frank O. Bowman III  (University of Missouri School of Law) has posted Prolegomenon on the Status of the Hopey, Changey Thing in American Criminal Justice (Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This is an introductory essay to Volume 23, Number 2, of the FEDERAL SENTENCING REPORTER, which considers the state of American criminal justice policy in 2010, two years after the "Change" election of 2008.

Part I of the essay paints a statistical picture of trends in federal criminal practice and sentencing over the last half-decade or so, with particular emphasis on sentence severity and the degree of regional and inter-judge sentencing disparity. The statistics suggest that the expectation that the 2005 Booker decision would produce a substantial increase in the exercise of judicial sentencing discretion and a progressive abandonment of the strictures of the Guidelines has begun to prove correct. However, the statistics also reveal that Booker has almost certainly increased geographical disparity in federal sentencing, and the available evidence suggests that inter-judge disparity has increased as well.

Part II of the essay analyzes the responses of the major federal institutional actors – particularly the judiciary, the Department of Justice, the defense bar, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and Congress – to the post-Booker advisory guideline system and considers the prospects for federal sentencing reform generally. It suggests that the mixed results of the Booker advisory guidelines experiment may contribute to its somewhat surprising longevity. The essay also takes a somewhat pessimistic view of the post-election prospects for useful federal sentencing reform.

Parts III and IV of the essay introduce a series of terrific articles in this issue of FSR on state criminal justice developments, as well as an article reflecting on the addition of Justice Sotomayor, a former trial judge, to the Supreme Court.

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Has he or anyone studied the differences in bail amounts around the country? Cook County has very excessive bails because the IL law bars bail bondsmen and the Cook County Court Clerk collects the 10 % bond required to get out of jail. The Clerk is by law allowed to charge 10% of the bond as her fee to process the bond. This should be unconstitutional and considered fraud just like it is considered Medicaid or Medicare fraud for a provider of a service to a doctor or hospital such as a billing agent or laundry to charge by % of doctor's or hospital's income.

A fixed service fee cannot and should not be tied to the income of the entity that pays for the service - or to the bail set by the judge. Cook County therefore has an incentive to make excessive bails and deny personal recognizance bail. This is why Cook County jail is so full of inmates and almost NO personal recognizance bonds are allowed by the judges. I have seen $50,000 bails for misdemeanor trespass and $100,000 bail for a 99 yr old woman charged with battery as well as for a woman in a wheelchair charged with battering an officer with her wheelchair while she was looking at him!

This means that the Court Clerk for a $1000 bail receives a $10 fee and for a $ million bail receives a $10,000 fee even if the person is innocent. Tying the fee to the bail should be fraud and is very unfair. It costs the Clerk the same amount to process a $100 bond as to process a $100,000 bond.

This is one of many ways corrupt Illinois extorts money out of its citizens.

Is their any attorney who will file a class action about this?

Posted by: Dr.Linda Shelton | Jan 8, 2011 4:56:23 AM

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