Friday, January 24, 2014

SDNY's Judge Rakoff: 'Scrap the Sentencing Guidelines'

The Southern District of New York, a federal judicial district known for the ambition and pedigree of U.S. and Assistant U.S. Attorneys who have practiced there, is, among all courts, not one at all hostile to prosecutors. Yet, Senior SDNY Judge Jed Rakoff--himself a former prosecuting attorney in the Southern District--has written a short paper which aims to curtail the power of all federal prosecutors.

In the article---based on a speech delivered in early 2013--Judge Rakoff explains how the effort to make federal sentences less disparate and less harsh in fact developed a tool for prosecutors to ratchet up sentences and severely punish individuals for exercising their constitutional right to jury trial. If you care at all about how the federal judicial system (dys)functions, I cannot recommend this paper  (JSTOR, pdf) highly enough. It's only four pages and isn't laden with legal jargon so anyone who reads this blog should have no problems understanding it it.

Via Sentencing Law and Policy

No comments: