Piper's Coming Home

March 04, 2005

Today, Larry is in Chicago to take Piper home. I think we're all happy/relieved/ecstatic that this whole ordeal is over. I'm sure Larry will dish when he gets back to Brooklyn, and hey, we may even get an appearance by the pipebomb herself -- assuming she isn't too busy auditioning for the new Apprentice. :) [Ask Larry about that one.]

Welcome home, Piper.

NYT Mandatory Minimum Editorial - Amazing

January 07, 2005

"Seldom has a public policy done so much damage so quickly."

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Federal Sentencing Op-Ed in NYT

November 22, 2004

Good piece in NYT about mandatory minimums.

Excerpt, here, then full piece if you click.
"Years ago, Chief Judge James L. Oakes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and I, as chief judge of the Eighth Circuit, sponsored a sentencing institute. At that institute, I asked the chairman of the United States Sentencing Commission why an 18-year-old who had received some drugs by mail for a friend should face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, under the commission's federal sentencing guidelines set by the commission. The chairman responded that because this teenager would be in prison during his 20's, the age when the likelihood of recidivism is greatest, the sentence would cut down on re-arrests. The head of the Bureau of Prisons whispered to me, "Doesn't he realize when that young man gets out of prison, he will be nothing more than a hardened criminal?"

Continue reading "Federal Sentencing Op-Ed in NYT"

Happy Birthday, P!

September 28, 2004

Today Ms. P.E.K. celebrated her 35th year on earth. I remember six years ago she was worried that she would turn 30 in prison. Our main thought: what a bummer. It can't be much easier to turn 35, but she was, naturally, upbeat and taking it all in great stride.

It's frustrating to not be able to call your girl on her birthday (as we're in one-way communication mode), but she called me in the afternoon (allowing me to loosen up the death grip I had on my cell phone all day) and I played her 50 Cent's "In Da Club," always a birthday anthem for our girl.

"Are you having a good birthday, baby?" I asked her when Fitty finished. "You know," she said, "I am." She pretended to be asleep when her friends surprised her with the ritual cube decoration (this is where people sneak into your cube at 4am and dress it up with makeshift streamers and such so it's there when you wake up). Later she had a homemade dinner celebration of chilaquiles and fried noodles. Clue, a very large woman and excellent rapper, gave her a big b-day squeeze explaining, "I'm a big girl; I give big hugs."

Happy Birthday, baby!

Watershed Sentencing Case

September 13, 2004

Here's a story from NYT about a drug case that gets to core of sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums debate. A guy in Salt Lake City got 63 years for selling pot (first offense).

Excerpts:

  • "It would appear effectively to be a life sentence," the
    judge, Paul G. Cassell of Federal District Court there,
    wrote in a request to the prosecution and the defense for
    advice about whether he has any choice but to send the man
    to prison forever."
  • Judge Cassell, a brainy, conservative former law professor,
    surveyed the maximum sentences for other federal crimes.
    Hijacking an airplane: 25 years. Terrorist bombing
    intending to kill a bystander: 20 years. Second-degree
    murder: 14 years. Kidnapping: 13 years. Rape of a
    10-year-old: 11 years."
  • "The Angelos case may provide a glimpse of the future. The
    constitutionality of federal sentencing guidelines was
    called into doubt by a Supreme Court decision in June, but
    that thinking does not extend to laws that set mandatory
    minimum sentences."
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