3. COMMISSION GEARS UP TO REVIEW STATE’S COMPLEX, INCONSISTENT SENTENCING SCHEME
4. JACOBS SEES PROGRESS, BUT CONTINUING HEAVY CASELOADS
3. Putting aside the Spitzer fiasco, one of the few things that came out of his brief administration is the Commission on Sentencing Reform. One assumes it took a really hard-as-nails prosecutor to see how flawed the system is—and to want to reform it. Everyone may know “an eye for an eye”, if they like biblical retribution, or “Let the punishment fit the crime,” if they are into the Mikado, but the only other people outside the DAs and defense attorneys who know what’s going on are the ones facing jail time.
And this is what you can give props to the ex-gov for: every society deserves to be judged not on its successes, but how it deals with its failure—such as those who step outside the Law and must be brought back in, one way or another. The another is what is more interesting. The Commission’s mandate to review criminal statutes, sentencing practices, alternatives to incarceration, programs to reduce time for inmates, parole and programs aiding convict’s re-entry into society—promises to bring authentic change to an area of law enforcement desperately in need of it.
4. And this includes a backlog of court cases, particularly immigration. The Second Circuit Judicial conference, meeting at Bolton Landing at Lake George has discussed such measures as borrowing district and magistrate judges and providing law clerks funded by circuit monies. There are 45 to 50 appeals each week from asylum seekers on the non-argument calendar, which has led to a large increase in terminated cases.
Even with this buffer, Chief Judge Jacobs says, “This circuit is fortunate and unusual in having so few judicial vacancies.” (Only four then.)