Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judge Gleeson is awesome

He is pushing the U.S. Attorney's Office in the EDNY to cure an injustice related to the trial tax:
  Because clemency is not a realistic option, the United States Attorney is respectfully requested to reconsider her decision not to agree to an order vacating two or more of Holloway’s 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) convictions. The onerous enhancement in § 924(c)(1)(c) for “second or subsequent conviction[s]” under § 924(c) masquerades as a recidivism enhancement, but when the “second or subsequent” conviction occurs in the very same case as the first one, as they did here, the result is frequently a manifestly unjust mandatory sentence with a disparate impact on black men.1 Holloway deserved harsh punishment for his three robberies, but no one can reasonably contend that his mandatory sentence was not excessive.
The case will be called for a status conference on June 20, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. The government is respectfully directed to take the steps necessary to produce Holloway in court at that time. Harlan Protass is appointed pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act to represent Holloway. Once again, I ask the United States Attorney to exercise her discretion to permit me to reopen the sentence in this case to do justice.In the absence of a government agreement to reopen the sentencing, I will address the pending application to reopen Holloway’s collateral challenge to his conviction. The extraordinary trial penalty in this case may warrant further briefing on the constitutional issues raised by such a use of prosecutorial power. In addition, though I long ago rejected a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s admission in his opening statement that Holloway in fact robbed the three victims of their cars, upon further reflection I may direct a closer inspection of that issue as well.

The Attorney General should be applauded for taking steps (even if they are small steps) to fix the ridiculous sentences and incarceration rates in the U.S., but we need more judges like Gleeson who is willing to tell it like it is.


Anonymous said...

David, this is the real answer to whether of not judges participate in plea negotiations.

Of course they do.

Wake not participating, they force people to take pleas....which is really what most want...because defendants understand that they are getting nailed if they go down at trial.

Rumpole said...

Love it. Absolutely love it. Gleeson is the best district judge in the country. Because he knows right from wrong and when he sees a wrong, he speaks out. The man may well qualify for sainthood. And doesn't the fact we find it unique that a judge seeks to do justice and doesn't hide behind procedural rules show the horrid state of our criminal justice system?

Richard Kopf (RGK) said...


This is a fine example of a district judge trying to fix a problem by working practically with counsel and in a respectful and open manner. While I intend no comment on the merits of the matter, I agree with you that Judge Gleason is worth of praise.

All the best.


PS Your colleague Horace Rumpole suggested I look at your post, and I am glad he did.

Tom Withers said...

David - great find! Great post. This is a great calamity of our time and that our rate of incarceration exceeds that of totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa is shameful. And, the fact that the justice system imposes those sentences (both state and federal) in a discriminatory fashion against minorities makes it all the more insidious.

David Markus said...

Judge Kopf,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Here's my question to you. Why aren't more judges willing to take on injustices as Judge Gleeson is doing? You guys have life appointments -- didn't the Framers intend for you to boldly check the executive branch? What happened?

Rumpole said...

DOM with the tough return on the serve and volley !!! Do I see a trip to Nebraska in your future? Go Cornhuskers!

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

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MC Waste Services, Inc said...

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MC Waste Services, Inc said...

no more from the hip bullshit will be tolerated! no more, either you accept jury selection is part of your defense strategy or you get out of the trial game.