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Federal sentencing & judicial discretion topic of UT Law Review Symposium

Renowned sentencing scholar Douglas Berman will give the keynote address this week at The University of Toledo Law Review Symposium.

“Discretion Realized? Federal Sentencing Ten Years After United States v. Booker” will be the topic at the free, public event Friday, Oct. 16, at 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

Ten years ago, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Booker, making the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines advisory. This has given district judges the discretion to sentence according to their own individual policy views. However, Congress has limited this discretion by enacting numerous mandatory minimum laws. These laws allow prosecutors to maintain a firm grasp over sentencing by charging offenses carrying mandatory minimum sentences.

This year, the UT Law Review Symposium will be an anniversary review of Booker and its aftermath in order to assess whether judicial discretion has been realized. Panels will cover four topics:
•  An overview of the state of sentencing post-Booker.
•  The effect of mandatory minimums on judicial discretion.
•  Views of federal judges on their discretion.
•  The future of sentencing reform, including proposed amendments to the guidelines.

Berman is the Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. He is the creator and author of the widely read and cited blog, Sentencing and Law Policy. His keynote address, titled “The Punitive New Deal: Federal Sentencing Reform’s Place in Modern American History,” will be at 11:45 a.m.

For more information on the symposium, visit


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