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Monday, October 17, 2011

Passing Judgment

I'm sure many of you saw the October 9th N.Y. Times article on Judge Denny Chin's experiences in sentencing as a district court judge.  I'm thinking about how I might make use of the case studies in the article in next semester's courses.  In my view, the piece was notable because it followed a few defendants who had appeared on a single judge's docket, and because it interviewed them post-release.  Although anecdotal, I found it to be richly textured.  Probably inspired by my experiences in Prof. Dan Freed's Sentencing Workshop, I try to use vignettes to get my students to think about what factors should (and should not) matter to courts in sentencing, and also how different sentencing schemes operate.  I also contrast some commentators' views about whether different factors should play a role (e.g., comparing articles by Dan Markel and Myrna Raeder on the role of "family ties").  I'd be interested to hear how others approach issues of sentencing and punishment.  This is one area in which I think that appellate opinions possess limited (although some) utility as teaching tools.

Posted by GiovannaShay on October 17, 2011 at 01:45 PM | Permalink

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