Zig Popko, Clinical Professor of Law, participated in a West Webcast on “The Federal Sentencing Guidelines Controversy” on Thursday, Dec. 18. Popko teaches Legal Research & Writing, is the director of the College’s Post-Conviction Clinic and is the author of Federal Sentencing Law & Practice.
“Recent amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines by the United States Sentencing Commission remind us of the controversy that continues to swirl around the topic of sentencing guidelines and the role judges and prosecutors play in that debate,” states the description of the Webcast. “There has been a continuous ebb and flow in the discussion as to how much leniency federal judges have in criminal sentencing with respect to these guidelines. The Supreme Court has ruled that district court judges have a broader discretion in imposing sentences than the guidelines traditionally implied, but criminal prosecutors believe that stricter sentencing guidelines are a better tool in combating crime and recidivism.”
Among the issues being discussed:
• The mechanics of sentencing guidelines• The evolution of federal sentencing guidelines from advisory to mandatory in imposing criminal punishment• Recent amendments to the guidelines• The role of mitigating circumstances in criminal sentencing• Have stiffer sentences in federal courts really reduced crime?
Other panelists include the Hon. James M. Rosenbaum, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota; and Frank O. Bowman, III, Professor of Law at the University of Missouri and co-author, Federal Sentencing Guidelines Handbook.
The Webcast can be found at http://westlegaledcenter.com/program_guide/course_detail.jsf?courseId=17477804.