Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Justice Kennedy Speaks Out Against Lengthy Sentences

Once again Justice Kennedy has spoken - federal sentences are too harsh. Period. His latest comments came from a speech at the Ninth Circuit Conference this week.

"If an 18-year-old is growing marijuana for a friend, that's distribution," the Sacramento native told judges, lawyers and court officials at the conference, held at the Hyatt Regency. "If he has his father's .22 rifle, that's a firearm. That will get 15 years. "Did you know what 15 years was when you were 18? I didn't when I was 18."

Justice Kennedy also spoke out against the lobbying efforts of correctional officers' unions adding: "The fact that the prison guards' association lobbies for higher penalties is sick," Justice Kennedy said.

I guess the question is what can be done? It appears, at least thus far, that Justice Kennedy's bark is louder than his bite? He has yet to author an opinion with the same rhetoric of his recent speeches. Whatever one's beliefs are regarding the length of federal sentences, it appears that this debate is far from over.

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