Federal Sentencing: Its Evolution and DynamicsThe Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 requires sentencing judges to select a sentence "sufficient, but not greater than necessary" to achieve the goals of 18 U.S.C. ? 3553(a)(2).We will examine the evolution of federal sentencing over the last forty years. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 will be a focal point as we explore its impact on the course of sentencing. The seminar will consider sentencing within the framework of the Sixth Amendment; mitigating factors; disparity within federal sentences and disparity between state and federal sentences; the equities and application of the death penalty and whether the goal of deterrence is served by capital punishment; the role of judicial discretion and appellate oversight; the effect of greater knowledge concerning what motivates and controls criminal behavior, on sentencing policies; the role of presidential pardons and commutations of sentences on judicial determinations of sufficient sentences; and, policy solutions to the reduction of the prison population. The seminar will have as its underlying theme, the continuing struggle that exists to achieve just, effective and constitutional sentences.
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