Federal Sentencing Guidelines Revisited

by Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

In excerpts from a speech given at the University of Nebraska Law School, Justice Breyer discusses the creation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, criticizes the current system of mandatory minimum sentencing (with some interesting statistics), and offers suggestions to increase fairness in sentencing.

Are Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Cost-Effective?

This research brief from the Rand Drug Policy Research Center concludes that mandatory minimum drug sentences are not a cost-effective means to achieving the nation's drug control objectives.

Paying the Witness: Why is it OK for the prosecution, but not the defense?

By J. Richard Johnston

This article inspired the defense arguments in the controversial Singleton case. It raises the question: Is it fair that prosecutors can offer powerful incentives to witnesses in exchange for their testimony, while defense attorneys, in offering anything to a witness, would be accused of bribery?

Substantial Assistance: An Empirical Yardstick Gauging Equity in Current Federal Policy and Practice

by Linda Drazga Maxfield and John H. Kramer, United States Sentencing Commission

In a summary of this 1998 study, the Acting Director of the Office of Policy Analysis and the Staff Director of the United States Sentencing Commission conclude that the "substantial assistance" provisions of the federal Sentencing Guidelines are not being applied equitably or consistently.

The Drug War's Hidden Economic Agenda

by Eric Blumenson & Eva Nilsen

In this 1998 article from The Nation, two legal scholars examine the problems created by a forfeiture law that allows law enforcement agencies to benefit financially from seizing assets from suspected drug offenders.

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