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Blog Scan

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NYT's Cooper Story: At TCS Daily, Lester Jackson has a critical review of a New York Times story on Judge Fletcher's dissent in the Kevin Cooper case in California.

Federal Judge Involvement in California Sentencing Reform:  At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman posts portions of "Assembly Invites Judges to Intervene," one of the editorials in today's Sacramento Bee.  The editorial reports that Governor Schwarzenneger has until Friday to submit his prison population reduction plan to the three-judge panel that decided Plata v. Schwarzenegger in early August.  The editorial is critical of the California Legislature's ability to pass "a feasible and timely proposal to reduce prison population before leaving town last Friday."  It calls the package finally sent to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk "watered down."  It also faults the Assembly for failing to include an " independent, professional sentencing commission" to rewrite sentencing laws in its plan.  CJLF has been critical of this proposal because it "creat[es[ a politically-appointed sentencing commission, it removes the ability of voters to hold elected representatives accountable for decisions that directly affect the safety of law-abiding Californians."  Another problem with the Bee's editorial is that it assumes the Legislature should disregard public safety and do exactly what three federal judges tell it to do. 

More on Obama Administration's Decision to Take "Prisoner-Photo Case to the Supremes":
  At Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, Ashby Jones writes that "President Obama really really doesn't want the world to see certain photographs showing the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Jones' basis his statement on yesterday's New York Times article by Adam Liptak detailing the Obama Administration's decision not ask the Supreme Court to block the release of photographs showing the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan last spring, and the "about-face" it made last month.  Last month, the Justice Department appealed and filed a brief asking the U. S. Supreme Court to hear the case.  (Other reports on the brief can be found here.)  Liptak writes that "the president's decision balanced two important interests," but Jones believes "the case will likely turn not on a clash of fundamental principles, but on a reading of a federal statute, the Freedom of Information Act, which makes disclosure of information held in the executive branch mandatory unless one of a list of exemptions applies."  Jones writes that this case is a tough one.  He likes the idea of exposing information, but "can see Obama's point: that such photos might be used selectively to create anti-American violence."

A Collector's Item for Supreme Court Junkies:  Tony Mauro reports on Blog of Legal Times that "[s]oon you'll be able to send mail with the image of a favorite Supreme Court justice affixed to the upper right corner."  On September 22, the U. S. Postal Service will debut four 44-cent stamps honoring justices Joseph Story, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, and William Brennan Jr. at a dedication ceremony in the U. S. Supreme Court.  Mauro's post includes pictures of the stamps.  Just don't rush to your printer to use the stamps, the 44 cent marks have been struck-through on all of the pictures. 

1 Comment

Is Dr. Jackson's take really a fair one? First of all, the Roger Coleman coverage was 17 years ago. I am not sure that linking the reporting on Coleman to this report was all that fair. Second, although Barkett's history with Dougan should probably have made its way into the piece, it's hard to fault the writer for choosing her, given her dissent in the recent Troy Davis case. Third, the outrage is well out of proportion to the supposed wrongs.

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