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Blog Scan

Parole as a Deterrent:  Over the weekend, Doug Berman posted a link to "Prisoners of Parole" on his website, Sentencing Law and Policy.  According to Berman the New York Magazine piece, by Jeffrey Rosen, provides an "[e]ffective discussion of new (version of old) thinking about deterrence."  Rosen's piece examines how classic deterrence theory - imposing certain, swift and mild punishment immediately after an offense - is being championed by scholars studying deterrence today.  Instead of imposing harsh penalties, and then suffering through the uncertainty of appeal, scholars like David M. Kennedy advocate imposition of certain punishments that the public views as fair and legitimate.  Rosen writes that theories like Kennedy's can be used "to persuade the nation's policymakers that the most urgent case for prison reform is not only economic but also moral and practical."  He believes swifter, more moderate punishments, can deter crime better than long sentences that many view as unfair. 

Supreme Court Back From Break:
  On Law.com, Tony Mauro reports on the Court's return to the bench with oral arguments in Briscoe v. Virginia and Alabama v. North Carolina.  Mauro writes that starting today the Court will begin to hear highly anticipated cases involving the Second Amendment, the Confrontation Clause, and the legal status of sex offenders.  Mauro follows his Law.com article with a Blog of Legal Times report that oral arguments in Briscoe taught the Justices a new word.  According to Mauro, Briscoe's attorney, Richard Friedman perplexed Justices with his use of the word "orthogonal" to describe why one of Justice Kennedy's hypotheticals was not pertinent to the case.  The transcript of Briscoe's oral argument is available here.  Mark Hansen reports in January's ABA Journal, that Briscoe's outcome could hinge on Justice Sotomayor.

Coverage of Proposition 8:  Howard Bashman rounds up coverage on the start of the Proposition 8 case in a San Francisco district court today.  He follows up with reports that the Supreme Court has blocked the YouTube webcast of the trial.  

Blog Comments on Brown After today's decision in McDaniel v. Brown, Orin Kerr invents a new blog software category for Supreme Court treatment of Ninth Circuit opinions, "Ninth Circuit Smackdown (Again)."  More information on Brown can be found in CJLF's Press Release


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