May 3, 2017

Israel Reflections 2017-The Case Of The Curious Citizenship (East Jerusalem)

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Negotiation, Public
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Our visit with Riman Barakat, a former Marquette Fulbright scholar who has worked in many different Palestinian-Israeli peacebuilding NGO’s is always a highlight of the trip.  Student Adrianna Hromadka reflects on the questions and answers of her talk.

East Jerusalem offers a unique type of citizenship. After 1948, East Jerusalem was not included in the Israeli held territory. However, following the Group of Marquette Law students and others on Israel tripSix-day War, Israel extended permanent Israeli residency to Arabs that were then living in Jerusalem. Others not then residing in Jerusalem were not extended the same right of residency. Today, East Jerusalem serves as the capital of the Palestinian territory. While all of the territory’s citizens have Israeli residency, only a small percentage of East Jerusalemites have Israeli citizenship. Without Israeli citizenship, residents can only vote in municipal elections. Additionally, East Jerusalemites can lose their right of residency if they live abroad for more than seven years.

On our fourth day of the trip we got to dive deeper into the complexity of East Jerusalem. We had the opportunity to have a discussion with Riman Barakat, the CEO of Experience Palestine and a social activist. Barakat is an East Jerusalem citizen that has played a significant role in the peace movement in the East Jerusalem community. Barakat spoke about the importance of building bridges between the different communities for the betterment of Jerusalem as a whole. Read more »

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May 2, 2017

After Thirty Years, It Is Time To Raise The Compensation for SPD Appointments

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process
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Statue entitled "The Spirit of Justice" outside of the Rayburn Huse Office Building in Washington, D.C., showing a seated woman with a small child.I’ve been asked to be the alumni blogger for the month of May. It’s about time!

For those who don’t know me, I am a criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin. I am currently the President of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL). Because of this position, and the fact that I’ve practiced exclusively in the criminal defense field for 12 years, my posts will generally focus on defense-related issues.

In that vein, perhaps the most pressing criminal defense-related issue in Wisconsin remains the unconscionably low rate of compensation paid to lawyers who take appointments from the State Public Defender’s Office (SPD).

Here’s the nutshell version of what currently happens. Indigent defendants are constitutionally guaranteed representation by lawyers who work for the SPD. But the SPD obviously can’t handle all of the cases assigned to the agency. For one, there are cases with co-defendants, where ethical rules preventing conflicts of interest would preclude one “firm” from representing both defendants. In other situations, a flood of criminal prosecutions renders the SPD staff unable to handle all of the cases. Consequently, private attorneys will sometimes step up to the plate, and agree to take these cases.

These cases, known as SPD appointments, are paid at a rate of $40 an hour. Read more »

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May 1, 2017

New Research Suggests Potential of Prison Furloughs, But Shadow of Willie Horton Still Looms

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It remains the paradigmatic moment in the modern history of tough-on-crime politics. In  the summer of 1988, Michael Dukakis, the Democratic Governor of Massachusetts, seemed to be cruising toward a presidential election victory in November. Then, Republican operatives began to pummel him for a horrific failure in Massachusetts’s prison furlough program. This program offered short leaves for inmates to spend time at home, which was thought to help prepare them for their permanent release. The program had a good track record until an inmate named Willie Horton absconded during one of his releases and brutally assaulted a young couple. As the Horton story became more widely known nationally, Dukakis’s lead in the polls evaporated. His eventual loss seemed to confirm that politicians could no longer afford even a tangential association with policies or programs that were perceived to be soft on crime.

The Horton story reverberated for years across the whole field of criminal justice, but perhaps its most direct impact was a sharp constriction in prison furlough programs, which had previously been widely accepted and utilized by American corrections officials.

As furlough programs faded away, so, too, did research on their effectiveness. Although several older studies suggested that furloughs might help to reduce post-release recidivism, there has been a growing need for updated research.

A new paper by L. Maaike Helmus & Marguerite Ternes helps to fill the gap.   Read more »

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April 29, 2017

Israel Reflections 2017–Old Gesher (the Crossing into Jordan)

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View of stone bridge at Israeli settlement "Old Gesher," located on the Jordan River.This trip we added a few new places and this was one of them.  As student Jessica Lothman reflects in this post, this particular bridge was filled with history, symbolism, and hope.

 

Bridging Time and Space: The Gravity of Old Gesher

Einstein put forth his theory of relativity in 1915 having determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space and time—this force is felt as gravity. Traveling through two-thousand years of history in eight days exerted its own gravitational force, with each speaker and landmark along our route from Jerusalem to the ancient Jaffa port in Tel Aviv pulling and pushing my perspective on conflict resolution in the context of Israel. Reflecting on our visit to Old Gesher—a place ripe with symbolism and metaphor—provides a snapshot of how the themes of relativity and gravity wove throughout our journey, and the course of human events in Israel and the Middle East.

We stopped at Old Gesher as twilight fell over the valley of the Jordan River on our way to Tiberius. Standing on the grounds, we could see the fence demarcating the border between Jordan and Israel near the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers, as well as the standing remains of three historic bridges (gesher is Hebrew for “bridge,” an obvious metaphor for conflict resolution). These bridges span not only vital terrain connecting the port city of Haifa to Jordan and Syria, but also epochs of strife-torn history from the Roman era to the Turkish era, and finally the British and modern eras.

It also is the site of a pre-Israeli state hydro-electric power station envisioned and orchestrated by “the old man from Naharayim,” Pinchas Ruttenberg in the late 1920’s This engineering feat operated for a short time providing electrical power throughout the region and serving as a symbol of cooperation between the early Zionists and the kingdom of Jordan. Jews manning the station built the only Kibbutz east of the Jordan. Prior to the Arab Legion attack on the compound during the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan took the unlikely step of alerting the people in the Kibbutz that danger was imminent, allowing all but the vital personnel to evacuate. 30 brave souls remained to protect the Kibbutz and power station, which was later destroyed during the war and was never to operate again—emblematic of the toll taken by armed conflict. Read more »

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Welcome May Bloggers

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Please join me in welcoming our guest bloggers for the month of May: Michael Anspach and Anthony (Tony) Cotton.

Our Student Blogger for May is Michael Anspach.  Michael just completed his second year at Marquette Law.  He has been elected Editor in Chief of the Marquette Law Review for Volume 101 and he is also Founder of the Law School’s Organization for Student Wellbeing.  He was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and he received his B.A. from Boston College with a Major in Philosophy and a Minor in Music.  Shortly after graduating from Boston College in 2012, Michael began studying the Eastern traditions, specifically Hatha yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine).  He became a certified yoga, meditation, and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle instructor through Deepak Chopra’s school in Carlsbad, California.  Since that time, Michael has been a daily yoga and meditation practitioner.  While in the process of starting his own yoga business, Michael came to realize two things: First, he did not want to turn his spiritual practices into a money-making endeavor, and, second, he enjoyed the contract work, negotiation, and intellectual stimulation, that goes along with any startup business.  Shortly after coming to this realization, Michael made the decision to attend law school.  This summer, he will work at the firm of Anspach Meeks Ellenberger LLP, based out of Toledo, Ohio, where he will focus on civil litigation defense, specifically the defense of nationally-based, long-term care facilities.

Tony Cotton is our Alumni Blogger for May. Tony was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for two years before transferring to UW-Madison. At Madison, Tony majored in Political Science and was twice elected to student government.  Tony the attended Marquette University Law School, where he focused heavily on criminal and international law. During his second year of law school Tony was awarded a grant from the Public Interest Law Society so that he could investigate human rights abuses in Eritrea, East Africa. In the summer of 2004, Tony traveled throughout Eritrea to interview civilians and prepare claims for people who had suffered damages as a result of the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. 

While still in law school, Tony secured an internship with the Federal Defender’s Office in Milwaukee. AS a law clerk, Tony helped draft a habeas brief to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and he was invited to Washington, D.C. to help the attorneys prepare arguments for one of the most significant criminal cases in United States history: United States vs. Booker (2005).  After graduation in 2005, Tony began working at Kuchler & Cotton, S.C. in Waukesha. All of Tony’s practice involves defending those accused of crimes.

Tony was elected to the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) and has served as President of that organization. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).  Tony has been recognized by Super Lawyers, every year since 2008, and was selected by The Wisconsin Law Journal as an “Up and Coming Lawyer” in 2010. He also writes a monthly column for the Wisconsin Law Journal.

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April 27, 2017

What President Trump’s “Budget Blueprint” Could Mean For The Great Lakes

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Category: Environmental Law, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Water Law
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At a recent Law School event, several panelists (including me) discussed the potential for the Trump administration to make important changes to the law in our respective areas of concentration. I said at the time that environmental law has proven quite resistant to previous efforts that would have weakened or erased it. Part of this resiliency is due A photo of a wetlandto the lengthy time horizon typically involved in repealing and replacing statutes and rules; another major factor is longstanding public opposition to such changes. With that said, major attempts are underway that, if implemented, would seriously undermine bulwarks of environmental law such as the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Antiquities Act. The Trump EPA has also recently begun the long process of repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule, under direction from President Trump to rewrite it in a manner consistent with one of Justice Scalia’s previous opinions.

Whether or not those efforts succeed, the executive branch has a major impact on the day-to-day operation of environmental law even in the absence of major statutory or regulatory reforms. The most direct avenues for this are through budgeting decisions and enforcement discretion. With debates over spending engulfing Washington, it’s worth examining the potential impact of President Trump’s recent “America First – Budget Blueprint” on the Great Lakes region. Several features of the proposal have generated controversy and may be especially significant in the Great Lakes region: Read more »

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Israel Reflections 2017–The Truth(?) of Masada

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MULS group photo at the Masada in IsraelFrom student J.J. Moore, here is a reflection on how the story that is told depends on the storyteller.

I have always loved ruins. Ruins tell a story and bring an appreciation of the past. However, a forgotten aspect of ruins is the stories that surround them. The combination of beauty and history converge at the ruins of Masada. The utter beauty of the sight, whether it was the preserved ruins or the breathtaking views atop the rock cliff, brought me to a place of deep peace.

Let me provide a brief (Roman) summary of the siege of Masada. Following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, roughly in 70 BCE, a small band of Jewish zealots maintained a stronghold atop the rock cliffs. The Romans surrounded Masada setting up camps, which are still preserved today, and built a siege ramp to break into the fortress. When the Jewish rebels realized that they would not be able to hold off any longer, they killed their families, and since Judaism prohibits suicide, drew lots to determine the final man to commit suicide. Additionally, the men destroyed everything except the food supplies to show the Romans that they could have withheld, but decided to choose death over slavery.

History is written by the victors, and Flavius Josephus was the only historian to detail the account of the siege of Masada. As with any story, there might be exaggerations or altering of the details. But, over time, more questions have been raised about this version.  Read more »

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April 26, 2017

Israel Reflections 2017–Day One–or, Should a Bartender Be the Next Mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

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Group photo of Marquette Law students that traveled to IsraelI am going to start posting the student reflections from the trip on a regular basis for the next couple weeks–hope you enjoy!

For the start of our Israel trip this year, we first stopped for an overlook of Jerusalem. Here our tour guide, Asaf, gave us a very brief history of Israel—6,000 years in 6 minutes…well maybe it took 10 minutes.  Following a fabulous dinner at Focaccia-Bar (I highly recommend), several students explored night life in Jerusalem during Shabbat. Stephen Bollom shared his experience with identities changed to protect the innocent (sort of).

Should a Bartender Be the Next Mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Six hours after landing in Israel, I found myself amid an impromptu conflict resolution at Dublin Bar in Jerusalem. How could this be happening? I was only kidding when I told my friend we couldn’t leave Israel until we came to a two-state solution! Yet, there I sat, with my Jack and Diet half-full in front of me, as I pretended to not hear the commotion going on between him and two attractive Israeli women sitting next to him at the bar. How was he to know the ins-and-out of appropriate decorum considering the jet lag hadn’t even begun to wear off? How could it be our fault as Americans that the social constructs with which we are familiar would be considered offensive and insulting in Israel? Read more »

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Innovation at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus

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Category: Environmental Law, Marquette Law School, Public, Water Law
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I have previously written in this space about the importance of policy innovation at the food-energy-water nexus. On Tuesday, May 16, Marquette Law School will host an interactive and interdisciplinary workshop to explore those issues, drawing from engineering, legal, scientific, and policy spheres. The workshop format and accompanying discussions will (1) provoke conversations about overcoming barriers to the implementation of innovative water solutions, (2) A circle graph showing how water and energy are relatedstimulate ideas for focused academic research in the nexus, and (3) drive the development of organizational policy and technology roadmaps. The event incorporates sessions on energy use, recovery, and minimization at water and wastewater utilities; on groundwater; on agricultural sustainability and food waste; and on ethical considerations for stakeholders, a topic often absent from similar events. A working lunch and roundtable discussion as well as breakout sessions will invite and encourage broad-based attendee participation. Attendees will also have numerous opportunities to network with experts, researchers, and students. This event is sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation I/UCRC for Water Equipment and Policy. More details, including an agenda and registration information, are available here. Confirmed participants include: Read more »

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April 25, 2017

The Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education: A Prologue

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Lubar Center SignOn April 25, Marquette University Law School announced the creation of the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. The center will be supported by a gift of $5.5 million from Sheldon and Marianne Lubar. The Lubar Center will further extend the Law School’s extensive engagement in public policy research and civic education, providing long-term support for an expanded set of initiatives. This gift builds on a previous seven-figure gift from the Lubars, in 2010, which established the Lubar Fund for Public Policy Research.

The Law School’s “public policy initiative,” established more than a decade ago, covers a wide range of activities including speakers, polling, fellowships, research, debates, and conferences. Perhaps the best way to imagine the new role of the Lubar Center is to appreciate the range of activities in which the Law School’s public policy initiative has engaged in recent years. These previous efforts, including support for reporting projects and civic education events, have established Eckstein Hall as “Milwaukee’s public square,” in the words of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. If past is prologue, this review also provides a preview of what the new Lubar Center can hope to accomplish.

To begin: The lunchtime interview series, “On the Issues with Mike Gousha,” has brought some 200 speakers to Milwaukee for interviews with Gousha, who is the Law School’s Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy. The topics have ranged from regional water issues to crime to economic development to the Holocaust to international security to sports. These sessions, which fill the 200-plus seat first-floor room (now known as the Lubar Center) at Ray and Eckstein Hall, feature a wide array of perspectives on law (e.g., Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, former Solicitor General Paul Clement), members of Congress (Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, Speaker Paul Ryan, Reps. Mark Pocan, Reid Ribble, Ron Kind), virtually every candidate for statewide office, Pulitzer Prize winners, business leaders, historians, and many more.

Eckstein Hall has hosted numerous debates, moderated by Gousha and broadcast statewide, between candidates for virtually every statewide office, including races for governor, U.S. Senate, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and state attorney general.

The existing Lubar Fund, which will become part of the Lubar Center, has supported journalism fellowships for major reporting projects in conjunction with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the past five years, on topics such as political polarization, extensive reporting on the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, the economic history and current prospects of Milwaukee, and most recently a series on the impact of childhood trauma on poverty in the city. Each of these has illuminated the health, both good and bad, of the Milwaukee area and of the state. Recent partnerships with the Milwaukee Business Journal have resulted in multi-article series on Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport and on the future of workforce development, also supported by the Lubar Fund.

Alan Borsuk, Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy, has helped make education a continuing focus of the public policy initiative. Events have included individual speakers from across the spectrum of education issues. Education is a contentious issue with passionate advocates on all sides, but a hallmark of public policy events at Eckstein Hall has been the ability to host civil and serious conversations across conflicting viewpoints. Recently, for example, Borsuk moderated a discussion between an advocate of private school vouchers and an advocate for increased public school funding. More-expansive conferences, involving Borsuk, Gousha, and others, have addressed issues of charter schools and Catholic K-12 education. Most recently, the Law School and Marquette’s College of Education hosted a debate, moderated by Borsuk, between the candidates for state school superintendent.

Since January 2012, the public policy initiative has included the Marquette Law School Poll, the most extensive survey of public opinion in Wisconsin. While law school events bring a wide range of speakers, the poll was conceived as a way to give voice to the public at large. Representative samples of the public demonstrate the wide range of views on policy issues and how these views differ across the political and geographic regions of the state. The results of each poll are presented by Gousha and Charles Franklin, poll director and professor of law and public policy.

In 2012 and again in 2015, the policy initiative, in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and with the support of the Lubar Fund, hosted conferences on Milwaukee and the “Chicago Megacity.” These conferences brought regional elected officials, business leaders, and academics together to discuss issues of regional cooperation and competition across the three states and hundreds of municipalities that are part of the megalopolis linking northwest Indiana, Chicago, and Milwaukee. In 2015, this included results of the first poll of the entire region, gauging citizens’ views of cross-border cooperation.

The Law School has also hosted conferences and events featuring leading scholars working on cities, their problems and prospects. These have encompassed work on neighborhoods by Harvard’s Rob Sampson, intergenerational effects by Patrick Sharkey of New York University, social mobility by Stanford’s Raj Chetty (a Milwaukee native), and, most recently, the impact of eviction in Milwaukee, featuring Harvard’s Matthew Desmond, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

This prologue, extensive as it is, merely sets the stage for the expanded opportunities offered with the new Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. The Lubar Center will allow us to expand our public policy work to include new efforts focused, for example, on the Milwaukee metropolitan region, as well as issues of statewide importance including water quality, public libraries, the workforce, and the future of rural Wisconsin. Through an expanded range of civic education events, the Lubar Center will not only produce research on public policy issues but also provide opportunities for public presentation and discussion of that research, bringing community audiences into contact with leading thinkers and researchers on a wide range of issues here at Milwaukee’s public square.

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Lubar Gift Opens Path to “So Much More” in Law School Public Policy Programs

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Sheldon LubarIn the announcement of a $5.5 million endowment gift by Milwaukee philanthropists Sheldon and Marianne Lubar to support public policy work at Marquette Law School, perhaps the most important statement came from Sheldon Lubar himself: “There is so much more to be done.”

The gift, announced Tuesday, will be added to a $1.5 million endowment gift made by the Lubars in 2010, to create a $7 million fund for continuing support of the efforts of the Law School. The public policy initiative began in 2007 with the hiring of Mike Gousha, distinguished fellow in law and public policy. It has grown to include numerous conferences, candidate debates, the “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” series of conversations, the Marquette Law School Poll, the Water Law and Policy Initiative, and other efforts to further serious, balanced discussion of major issues of all kinds.

“In recent years in particular, Marquette Law School has played a leading role in significant discussions and research on important topics,” Sheldon Lubar said. “At the same time, there is so much more to do. We are pleased to expand our support of this work.”

The initiative will be named the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. In addition, the Appellate Courtroom of Eckstein Hall, where many major events are held, will be named the Lubar Center.

Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell said, “Marquette greatly appreciates the faith of Shel and his family in our university’s ability to bring greater understanding through constructive conversations.”

Joseph D. Kearney, Dean and Professor of Law, said, “Marquette University Law School is deeply committed to serving our community in ways even beyond our primary goal of providing outstanding legal education to our students. . . . We seek to enhance that role and to bring important ideas and people to our community through the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education.”

The Lubar Center will support public policy research initiatives and civic education at the Law School and beyond. This includes public events, funding for faculty and staff involved in the center, and research and reporting projects.

The initial Lubar gift has supported numerous research projects and innovative partnerships with journalism entities, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

In addition to the Lubar Fund, the Law School supports its public policy initiative with donations from its annual fund.

Gousha said, “Whether it is hearing from candidates for public office, exploring new ideas for addressing policy challenges, or providing independent research, data collection, and analysis, our goal is to be a resource for the region and state.”

The full news release announcing the gift may be found by clicking here.

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April 24, 2017

A Win for Judicial Sentencing Discretion in Armed Robbery Cases; Additional Reform Still Needed

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Federal Criminal Law & Process, Federal Law & Legal System, Federal Sentencing, Public, U.S. Supreme Court
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A photo of the Supreme CourtEarlier this month, in Dean v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that federal sentencing judges retain some discretion to soften the notoriously draconian sentencing scheme of 18 U.S.C. §924(c). The statute establishes a mandatory prison term when a defendant uses or possesses a firearm in connection with a violent or drug trafficking crime. Unlike most minimums, though, this one must be imposed to run consecutively with any other sentences imposed at the same time. Thus, for instance, a defendant convicted of both a robbery and possession of a firearm during the robbery must get at least five years on top of whatever sentence is ordered for the robbery.

But what if a judge—in light of all of the facts of the case and the circumstances of the defendant—decides that five years is a sufficient punishment for the crime? Could the judge impose a sentence of just one day on the robbery count, so that the total sentence does not exceed what is necessary? In other words, in sentencing for the robbery count, can the judge take into consideration what she will have to impose for the §924(c) count?

Yes, said the Supreme Court in Dean.   Read more »

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