- Brian Morris, Elite Worldwide Polygraph Services
On November 5, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Johnson v. United States. This case concerns whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be treated as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
To discuss the case, we have Richard Myers who is the Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Although prison populations at the federal level have very recently declined for the first time in decades, prisoner population at the state level rose. The cost of crime, some that can be measured and some that are impossible to measure, is undoubtedly high, but so too is the cost of incarceration. Are we striking the right balance in length of sentences? And what is the proper balance between latitude and sentencing guidelines for judges? Do the answers to these questions differ for the state versus the federal criminal justice system?
The Federalist Society's Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group presented this panel on "Criminal Sentencing Reform: A Conversation among Conservatives" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.
At issue in Yates v. United States is the "anti-shredding" provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which makes it a federal crime if one “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object” with the intent to impede or obstruct a federal criminal investigation. John Yates was criminally prosecuted because he allegedly destroyed three fish that were too small to be caught legally. According to Mr. Yates, his prosecution was improper because he could not have had fair notice that a fish would be considered a “tangible object." Our expert attended the oral arguments and offered his impressions to a live Teleforum audience.