Criminal Law & Procedure
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- Juvenile Justice
- Sentencing and Corrections
|Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference|
|Is “False” Political Speech Protected? - Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus - Podcast|
On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. The Court will answer the following questions: (1) Whether, to challenge a speech-suppressive law, a party whose speech is arguably proscribed must prove that authorities would certainly and successfully prosecute him, as the Sixth Circuit holds, or should the court presume that a credible threat of prosecution exists absent desuetude or a firm commitment by prosecutors not to enforce the law, as seven other Circuits hold; and (2) whether the Sixth Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the Eighth Circuit, that state laws proscribing “false” political speech are not subject to pre-enforcement First Amendment review so long as the speaker maintains that its speech is true, even if others who enforce the law manifestly disagree. Our expert attended the oral arguments and offered his impressions to a call-in audience.
|Controversial Sentencing in the Antwuan Ball Case - Podcast|
In 2005, Washington, D.C. resident Antwuan Ball was indicted for a massive drug conspiracy and associated murders. Following a lengthy jury trial he was acquitted on all the counts, except for one crack distribution count. At sentencing, District Judge Richard Roberts found “clear evidence of [Ball's leadership in] a drug conspiracy” and sentenced Ball to a 225-month prison sentence for the drug distribution — far in excess of the recommended guideline sentence for the single drug distribution charge. The D.C. Circuit upheld this sentence in a decision on March 14. Was the D.C. Circuit Court correct? Our experts discussed the opinion and answered questions from our call-in audience.
|Smarter Sentencing Act - Podcast|
Numerous proposals in Congress, the Justice Department, and the Sentencing Commission would bring down the sentences now given to those convicted of federal drug offenses. Probably the most prominent of these is the proposed Smarter Sentencing Act, which was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with the support of all its Democratic members and several Republicans. The act would, among other things, reduce the mandatory minimum sentences judges must now give certain classes of drug offenders and would expand the existing Safety Valve that has enabled some defendants to avoid the mandatory minimum.
Proponents of the Smarter Sentencing Act say that our prisons are overcrowded and that the pendulum has swung too far in terms of mandatory minimum penalties for non-violent drug offenders. Opponents say that stern mandatory sentencing has helped bring down crime, reined in irrational disparities from one courtroom to the next, insured at least a rock-bottom sentence for socially destructive behavior, and has been more than worth the expense through the savings reduced crime has brought about.
|Maryland v. King: Possibly The Most Important Criminal Procedure Case in Decades|
Many Supreme Court observers, including no less than Justice Samuel Alito himself, have described Maryland v. King as perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that the Court has decided in decades. While this may well be true, the question presented to the Court was actually quite simple: Is the warrantless collection of DNA from arrestees unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment?...[Read More!]