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January 18, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Photo by: Gary L. Gehman
Crime and Punishment: Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Last Featured: 11/29/2004

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

1,200 federal prisoners a week are sentenced under guidelines that could be declared unconstitutional by year’s end. A U.S. Supreme Court decision last June struck down Washington State’s sentencing scheme, ruling that too much decision-making was being passed from jury to judge. In July, a Miami judge used the same rationale to rule against the 27 year old federal guidelines. So, ask baffled prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges, who gets to decide a convict’s fate? At the behest of the Justice Department, the High Court will take a new look at the constitutional boundaries of crime and punishment.

Christopher A. Wray currently serves as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division. He has previously served in several high ranking capacities in the U.S. Justice Department including Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General and Associate Deputy Attorney General. From 1997 to 2001, Wray was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in its Criminal Division. As a prosecutor in Atlanta, he handled a variety of federal cases and investigations. Early in his career, Wray served as law clerk to Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The Hon. John S. Martin, Jr is Of Counsel with Debevoise & Plimpton. Prior to joining Debevoise in 2003, Judge Martin served for thirteen years as a U.S. district judge and three years as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General and served as consultant to the National Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice. Judge Martin has also been Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief Appellate Attorney for the southern District of New York, and a law clerk to Judge Leonard P. Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals.

Closing Quote
"Can a free people restrain crime without sacrificing fundamental liberties and the heritage of compassion? Let us show that we can temper together those opposite elements of liberty and restraint into one consistent whole."

— President Gerald R. Ford

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
6th amendment Establishing the right to trial by a jury of peers; the right to a speedy and public trial; the right to be informed of criminal charges; the right to confront witnesses and the right to assistance by counsel
Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 Set guidelines and procedures for sentencing of adult felony crimes.
1/11/05 - Supreme Court Rules on Sentencing Guidelines (United States v. Booker) PDF File. Adobe Acrobat required.
State Sentencing Commission
United States Sentencing Commission
First District Appellate Project
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Open Society Institute
The Sentencing Project
Sentencing Law and Policy
Vera Institute of Justice
CATO Institute
Fear of Judging : Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts
by Kate Stith, Jose A. Cabranes
Sense and Nonsense About Crime and Drugs: A Policy Guide
by Samuel Walker
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing