The Devil You Know: The “Funny Math” of the Guidelines, Proposed Fixes, and Lessons Learned From Capital Defense.

Doug Berman

Helping us get Set For Sentencing, Prof. Douglas Berman.  He is is the Newton D. Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law and Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, housed in the Moritz College of Law of The Ohio State University. Professor Berman is the creator and author of the widely-read and widely-cited blog, Sentencing Law and Policy. The blog now receives nearly 100,000 page views per month.

In this episode:

  • What non-capital defenders can learn from looking at death penalty mitigation and trends;
  • Making the case for jury sentencing in non-cap cases;
  • How draconian sentencing laws and unfettered prosecutorial discretion corrupts justice and results in innocent people being compelled to plead guilty;
  • The hope that the US Sentencing commission will institute meaningful changes to the federal sentencing guidelines;
  • The future of compassionate release and First Step Act implementation;
  • The debate over scrapping the guidelines vs. implementing incremental change;
  • How to leveling the playing field by building more mitigators into the guidelines;
  • The “one thing” that must animate all good sentencing advocacy


Sentencing Law and Policy Blog

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center

28 U.S.C. Sec. 994 (j), which essentially creates a presumption of non-incarceration for non-violent, “non-serious”, first time offenders.  BUT, see these 2021 statistics from the US Sentencing Commission, showing that over NINETY PERCENT of defendants receive a PRISON sentence instead.

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