Matt Miner, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of White & Case LLP, testified before the US House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security today about the need for federal sentencing reform in the US.
The issues he discussed included:
(1) How the US Sentencing Guidelines and the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 provide – or at least provided prior to United States v. Booker – a check against arbitrariness, favoritism, racial bias and other influences that could taint rulings within the country's federal sentencing system.
(2) Why the federal sentencing system is drifting from a guideline-based system to one driven more by luck than by law.
(3) What kinds of sentencing reforms are needed and the best way to go about implementing reform.
The hearing, "Uncertain Justice: The Status of Federal Sentencing and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Six Years after U.S. v. Booker," was held at the 2141 Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at 10am.
"Something clearly needs to be done to repair the gaps left by the Supreme Court’s remedial holding in Booker and to provide greater clarity and consistency to our federal sentencing system," Miner will say in his testimony. "The recent appellate decision and related news stories surrounding convicted terrorist Jose Padilla’s sentencing illustrate the flaws and uncertainty in our federal sentencing system. The trial court sentenced Jose Padilla to 17 years in prison – little more than half of the minimum term prescribed by the Guidelines."
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