Sentencing Law

We’re guessing you’ve all seen this video of 1,500 Filipino prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It has been discussed all over the blogosphere and MSM. E.g, Gawker; Concurring Opinions; Times of London.
(We’re just surprised that sentencing guru Doug Berman — who, by the way, moderated a great panel on the federal sentencing guidelines at the recent ACS convention we attended (and will write about later) — hasn’t weighed in on this innovative approach to criminal punishment.)
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the clip:
Cebu Philippines Filipino prisoners prison inmates dancing Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Pretty cool, eh? Professor Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School quipped, “I want to meet the warden.”
Well, Professor Nesson, we can help. As it turns out, Byron Garcia — the prison official who came up with this idea, and uploaded the video clip to YouTube — is our uncle!
You can read our correspondence with Tito Byron, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sentencing Reform: Dancing Will Set You Free”

John Shabaz Judge John C Shabaz John Shabzz Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgNot allowing the defendant to allocute before pronouncing sentence is a rookie mistake for a judge to make. So if a judge makes it, despite having been on the bench for over 25 years, he can expect to get benchslapped. From a Wisconsin reader:

Not sure if this is quite up your alley, but Federal District Judge John Shabaz got bench-slapped pretty hard by the Seventh Circuit in an opinion that came down today.

He’s like a million years old and is best known around here for falling asleep during trials and objecting himself and sustaining his own objections. We’ve decided not to get really worried until he starts overruling himself.

Well, as long as a former clerk doesn’t write a tell-all memoir, Judge Shabaz should be just fine.
Wherrrreeee’s Johnny [Seriatim]
United States v. Luepke (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit]
John C. Shabaz bio [FJC]

* When the music stopped, Craig Morford, interim U.S. attorney in Nashville, was left standing. So now Morford must fill Paul McNulty’s uncomfortable shoes as Deputy Attorney General — after several others apparently passed on the job. [Washington Post; New York Times]
* New Jersey lawyer Shalom Stone may need to be as charming as Shalom Harlow to win confirmation to the Third Circuit. [The Hill (ATL shout-out!) via How Appealing]
* Dow Jones director David Li could be in trouble with the SEC. Oh Wells. [DealBreaker]
* Go shorty. [MSNBC]

* Georgia Supreme Court expedites Genarlow Wilson hearing. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Libby gets supervised release to wrap up his sentencing. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Off with their food safety head. [BBC]
* Georgia judge dies after beating received during robbery two weeks ago. [Fulton County Daily Report]

* White House and RNC staff alleged to have tried to circumvent post-Watergate law. [CNN]
* The Roberts-Alito-Kennedy Court. [MSNBC]
* Judge recommends higher BALCO sentence. [ESPN]
* More trouble for Pacman Jones? [SI]
* DA Nifong is out; lax players reach settlement with Duke. [CNN]

* So what’s the solution here? Let another state’s appellate court hear the appeals? [AP via Kane County Chronicle via How Appealing]
* Come on, you can get the man a bond hearing earlier than three weeks from now. They’re killing me with this; let him go, damnit! [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Mississippi sues State Farm for bad faith. [Jurist]
* Texas is uncharacteristically deliberate about executing somebody. [CNN]
* What is it with lawyers and sports tickets? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Really, Baker, you’re gonna appeal? Listen, let it go. Nobody wants this guy in jail. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Who will patrol the guardsmen? [New York Times]
* Senate seven votes shy on expressing no confidence in Gonzales. [Jurist]
* Rum and coke at a Bears game? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Five unanimous opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court. [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]

toilet paper tp tissue Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn our experience, the toilet paper in courthouse buildings isn’t worth stealing. It’s a far cry from Charmin.
But we’ve never been to central Iowa, where apparently courthouse visitors enjoy two-ply plushness. From the AP:

Police blame a woman named Butts for stealing toilet paper from a central Iowa courthouse, and while they’re chuckling, the theft charge could put her in prison.

“She’s facing potentially three years of incarceration for three rolls of toilet paper,” Chief Lon Walker said, stifling a laugh as he talked to KCCI-TV about Suzanne Marie Butts. “See, I can’t say it with a straight face.”

Why does such a minor offense carry such a severe punishment?

The fifth-degree theft charge, a misdemeanor, normally carries a sentence of less than a year in jail. But Butts could face more time if convicted under the state’s habitual offender law because she has prior theft convictions.

Three wipes and she’s out.
Butts Charged With Stealing Toilet Paper [Associated Press]

lollipop oral sex fellatio Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgDefendant Genarlow Wilson, who served two years behind bars for having consensual oral sex with another teen, has been ordered released from prison. Wilson’s habeas corpus petition was granted, despite defense counsel being named “B.J. Bernstein.”
(If former President Bill Clinton were asked if Monica’s ministrations were worth it — the impeachment, the ignominy, the imperilment of his presidency — what would he say?)
Judge Throws Out Sentence in Teen Sex Case [New York Times]
Judge Frees Teen Imprisoned for Consensual Oral Sex
[Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Drudge Report]

A friend of Paris Hilton, who saw the hotel heiress during her all-too-brief house arrest, had this to say about how Hilton was treated in jail:

“It’s so cruel what has happened to her. She wasn’t allowed to wax or use a moisturiser. Her skin is so dry right now.”

Judge Michael Sauer: Have you no sense of [evolving standards of] decency?
Paris banged up … again [The Sun - UK]
Roper v. Simmons [Legal Information Institute / Cornell Law School]
U.S. Constitution: Eighth Amendment [FindLaw]
Paris Hilton bird in cage caged bird anal herpes Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg

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