Recent news and developments
website on Notable comments on judging (and sentencing) from a member of my "Sentencing Judges hall of Fame"A couple more students got me some more "top flight" guest post material in time to get a little credit for the effort. I will post the entries periodically, and start with this sports related sentencing post for all those who have (like me) already spent a little too much time watching football since classes ended:
It's no great surprise to learn that an athlete is in legal trouble, but the recent investigations of (now former) Bears receiver Sam Hurd and Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson break the mold of DUI's and t shirt thefts. and Hurd were both investigated for drug distribution crimes that carry major federal sentencing consequences, yet Simpson is still reeling in passes for Cincinnati's playoff drive while Hurd was quickly waived by Chicago.
Hurd wasn't just waived because he isn't as good a player 8 catches for 109 yards to Simpson's 40 catches for 629 yards and 3 TD's his situation is far more dire. Both cases are federal and implicate the sentencing guidelines. Simpson received a shipment of 2.5 pounds of Northern California marijuana while Hurd told an undercover federal agent that he wanted to buy between 5 and 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week.
Hurd has been charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of cocaine, and his case has been transferred to Texas. Under the federal guidelines 2D1.1(c), that amount carries a base offense level of 26. 848. could face life imprisonment under the same statute if his gross receipts over 12 months were over $10 million and he was a principal administrator. Given that Hurd had offered to pay around $2.8 million a month for drugs, it seems likely he would meet these thresholds. It is an enormous jump under the statute from the base level 38 which would result in a sentence of 235 293 months (20 25 years) without any criminal history adjustments.
By contrast Simpson's marijuana package would carry a base offense level of 10, and 6 12 months with no criminal history, though he may be subject to mandatory minimums if he is found to be part of an ongoing conspiracy and other packages were found in his home could lead to a higher base level. California federal prosecutors have taken over his case, and he is yet to be charged. These facts indicate that Simpson may be cooperating to reduce his penalties and to help investigators go after drug suppliers in Northern California's bred 13s for sale "Emerald Triangle."
Given the penalties faced by Hurd, he is incentivized to follow Simpson's lead (if he is in fact cooperating). Blagojevich. I continue to look for an on line version of the defense filing (and will give extra credit to any student who can find a link and post it in the comments).
In addition to the guideline stories I stressed in class, many other aspects of the government memo merit consideration and comment. And this local article from a Spingfield paper, titled "Federal sentencing a confusing process," might be of special interest and appeal as you think about how the public thinks about these sentencing issues in a high profile setting without having had the benefit of an entire semester of Sentencing Class Crazy Professor Berman.
Among other topics, I would very much welcome/encourage you to pretend to be Judge Zagel and script in the comments sentence (and an explanation for the sentence) to be imposed on Rod Blagojevich. For all we know, the Judge might read these comments before sentencing.
I have heard great reports about the class this past week from our two kind guest lecturers. we (finally!) get the chance to bred 13s reconnect this coming Wednesday, I would be happy and eager to provide any kind of direct follow up to what you covered this past week (and students are encouraged to use the post for any follow up comments or requests based on the guest presentation).
In addition to any needed follow up, I plan for this week class to involve mostly reconnection after we been away from each other quite a while thanks to snow days and other complications. jordan 13 bred Specifically, here are my main agenda items for this week class on Feb 24:
1. Confirm due dates and expectations for mid term assignment and final white bred 13s 2013 paper
2. Wrap up focused discussion on the death penalty with emphasis on the (and interplay) of distinct concepts of discretion, disparity, and sentencing severity. Discuss (of so many) current events developments we might want make a special focal point for focused discussion in the weeks before Spring Break.