Friday, January 14, 2005

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Struck Down

The Supreme Court came along way to re-establishing the role of the Constitution of the United States of America this week in Federal criminal law. They struck down the mandatory use of the Federal Guidelines for sentencing of criminals because the system used evidence and accusations not tried before a jury, or any court of law for that matter. [Side note: Evidence that was thrown out of court during the criminal trial for being unproven or inadequate was often used in the sentencing phase anyway; which was extremely unconstitutional and undermined the authority of the court.]
There is one problem with the Supreme Court’s decision. The Supreme Court chickened out by determining that the system should be used as a recommendation for sentencing of criminals. This cop-out is due in part to the fact that several of the current members of the U.S. Supreme Court helped draft the unconstitutional system 20 years ago and they are still partial to it. Even with the abolishment of its mandatory nature, the continued use of the Federal Guidelines still undermines the Constitution. However, the overall decision by the Supreme Court is at least a step in the right direction.
I fear that the real lesson to be learned here is going to be lost on the politicians who are now scrambling to patchwork a congressional response to this groundbreaking decision. The real lesson is this, the U.S.A. should have a standard sentencing system for criminals, but that system should not use accusations and evidence that hasn’t been tried before a court, or been thrown out of court. All facets of sentencing should directly derive from facts presented at trial.
My hope for this country is that the Supreme Court will be more centralist and politically neutral at some point, allowing them to make untethered decisions that hold the Constitutional higher than extreme leftist and neo-conservative ideologies.

Problem with being a centralist is that I’ll prolly never be happy with anyone in power. My best hope is that the left and right are equally struggling against other. More equal and intense the struggle, the less likely our Government is going to be used to infringe on the rights of any persons protected by the U.S. Constitution. Right now, we are way out of balance.

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