Faculty in the News

Douglas A. Berman Media Hits

The following is a list of selected media coverage for Douglas A. Berman. The links below will direct you to sites that are not affiliated with the Moritz College of Law. They are subject to change, and some may expire or require registration as time passes.

 

Shame Is a Powerful Deterrent

February 19, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman participated in a debate for the opinion pages of the New York Times about ways to potentially lower the number of accidents. Berman pointed out that increasing the severity of punishment does not always lead to deterrence. Instead, he suggested shaming as a possible alternative method. 

"Shaming has an established pedigree; it was widely used in colonial America," he said. "More recently, academics have debated the potential virtues and vices of modern shaming — often after a judge has ordered a shoplifter to wear a sign saying “I am a thief.” Because we have rarely tried to make traffic offenders “pay” for their crimes through prominent use of shaming, I cannot confidently predict it would be more effective. But given the challenges in trying to capture the attention and obedience of busy New York City drivers, it is worthwhile to consider creative alternative punishment schemes."



Judge cited Ohio obscenity law in approving prosecutor's request to destroy rape case evidence

February 9, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about the destruction of evidence in an Ohio rape and murder case. The destruction could be justified, Berman said, because harm that could occur if the material became public.

"You preserve any of this stuff, who knows not only who get their hands on it, but who knows who is eager to misuse this material for whatever potential criminal purpose," he said.



How Colleges Are Preparing Students for a Country Where Pot Is Legal

January 23, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from The Atlantic about how colleges are preparing their students for a future where marijuana might be legal. Berman designed a seminar class about the law surrounding marijuana because of the salience the issue has gained in this country. He especially saw the significance in California's attempt to legalize marijuana.

“I came to the conclusion, whether accurately or not, when California had its legalization initiative in 2010, that if that were to be passed it would be something of landmark significance. And it was something that struck me that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved,” Berman said.



Judge Who Retired After Racist Email Sent Hundreds Of Others, Investigation Finds

January 21, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman's sentencing blog was quoted in a ThinkProgress.org article about a former Montana judge, Richard Cebull, who was discovered to have sent racist and sexist emails from his work email. After a group of judges reviewed his cases, no signs of bias in his rulings were uncovered. However, Berman said defendants Judge Cebull sentenced should look into it further.

“In my view,” he said, “any defendant (especially any female or minority defendant) still sitting in federal prison unhappy with a past sentencing decision made by Judge Cebull could and should use this new report to at least request a focused review of any of his specific sentencing outcomes.”



Supreme Court takes up limits of child porn victim restitution in case involving East Texan

January 20, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Dallas Morning News about a child pornography case involving a man in Texas. The Supreme Court will rule on whether the man, Doyle Paroline, will have to pay the victims for pain and suffering.

“There are so many fulcrums on which this case could tip, and which of those will be the focal point of arguments and ultimately the court’s decision is very hard to predict,” said Berman.



Unclear Future for Executions After Ohio's Longest

January 19, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a story from the Associated Press about new legal questions arising after an Ohio inmate was executed using a new method, but took 26 minutes to die. It is unclear if the man, Dennis McGuire, went through any pain, but McGuire's children are calling it torture. Berman said it remains to be seen how the courts will view the situation.

"How much will Ohio care, how much will the rest of the country care, that it seems that what we now have discovered is Ohio is using a method that gets the job done, but looks ugly," Berman said. "We don't know if it actually was ugly. We just know that it looked ugly."



Family, experts: Ohio execution snafu points to flaws in lethal injection

January 19, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article by CNN about an Ohio inmate's execution, in which the man appeared to struggle and be in pain. Whether he was actually in pain is unclear, but the family plans to file a lawsuit against the state. Berman said the suit would be "groundbreaking," and "a nice political statement," but Berman did not believe the family had the legal standing needed to file it.



After a Prolonged Execution in Ohio, Questions Over ‘Cruel and Unusual’

January 17, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed for a New York Times story regarding the prolonged execution of Dennis B. McGuire in Ohio. McGuire experienced a 25 minute execution with a new and untested combination of drugs.

Now his family is looking to bring the case to court to prevent others from having to go through the same thing.

In response to their decision to file suit, Berman said they would have to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered unnecessary pain.”

“By my lights, this is a very hard lawsuit to prevail,” he added. “But who knows?”



Prolonged execution renews debate over death by lethal injection

January 17, 2014

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Los Angeles Times about an Ohio inmate's prolonged execution, in which he appeared to struggle and be in pain before dying. Whether the inmate was actually in pain is unclear, but his family is filing a lawsuit against the state. Now, states like Ohio are looking for alternative options.

"We have seen fewer and fewer executions every year, in large part because of these problems," said Berman. "Maybe states will give up and say we'll try firing squads and hanging again. But then there's a question about whether courts will allow that."

 



In Death Penalty’s Steady Decline, Some Experts See a Societal Shift

December 19, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in the New York Times about the decline of the death penalty. According to the article, 80 death sentences were imposed in 2013 compared to 315 in 1994. Berman noted that the “a majority of states and people still favor using it for the most serious crimes," but also said many states' adoption of life without parole for severe offenders is  “the single most important factor in the decline in the death penalty in the last 15 years.”

 



In 2012, Fed Prisons Lost More Prisoners than They Gained

December 19, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Wall Street Journal about federal prisons losing more prisoners than the number that came in. It's the first time in more than 10 years that's happened, but Berman said the downward trend might not be here to stay.

“As much as it’s valuable to say, ‘Hey we hit the top of the mountain and now we’re going to start a slow and steady decline,’ I don’t think there’s any reason to be confident in that,” he said.



Why Support For The Death Penalty In America Is Plunging

October 31, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed by Business Insider for an article about why the support for the death penalty in America is declining. Berman lays out a number of reasons, including the mistaken convictions and crime becoming a less salient issue in American politics. However, overall most Americans still support it.

“It remains the case that, even in a blue state,” Berman said, “there is still this general support for the death penalty at least on the books as kind of a symbolism of being tough on the worst offenders.”



Group wants to exclude severely mentally ill from death penalty

September 27, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Columbus Dispatch about  whether the severely mentally ill should be exempted from the death penalty. The Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty submitted the recommendation to the General Assembly, but diagreement remains over what constitutes as a severe mental illness.

Berman awknowledged that problem, saying there is “gray area in the gray matter," but that he supported a “categorical exclusion” for the severely mentally ill.



Accused Montana Newlywed Faces a Wide Range of Punishment

September 10, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy blog was referenced by the Wall Street Journal in an article about a woman accused of pushing her husband off a cliff. Berman says the woman, Jordan Linn Graham, could face 20 to 25 years if convicted of second-degree murder or 14 to 18 years if she pleas guilty.

"That said," writes Berman, "the defendant's prior lies about the crime could lead to an obstruction of justice enhancement." Graham admitted she had "lied about the death of her husband."



Jacksons' fate a question of time

August 11, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article about the impending sentencing of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. The two both pleaded guilty to felonies involving a $750,000 spending spree with campaign money. Berman said he predicts Jesse Jackson Jr. will receive two years and Sandi Jackson will receive either six months or one year and one day. However he agrees with a statement made by the pair’s lawyers, which notes the intense media coverage of the scandal has “already punished Mr. Jackson and his family immeasurably.”

Berman said the Jacksons, not being "run-of-the-mill tax cheats," had endured stigma and loss of reputation, intangibles that need to be weighed against the public perception that unless felons get hard time, they've gotten off with a slap on the wrist.



California prisons: U.S. Supreme Court rejects state bid to avoid removal of more inmates

August 2, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was cited in a San Jose Mercury News article about overcrowding in California prisons.  On Friday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's administration's bid to stall a federal court demand that the state shed the inmates to resolve California's prison overcrowding crisis. The state is currently in a situation that would require the removal of 10,000 state prison inmates by the end of the year.

Berman said the Supreme Court's refusal to act immediately signals a majority of the justices are disinclined to intervene, perhaps a reason Scalia's dissent was so forceful.



Why Not Interrupting Castro Was A Wise Legal Decision

August 1, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was featured as a guest on NPR's Here & Now following the sentencing hearing of Ariel Castro, convicted rapist and kidnapper. Castro "got the last word" and was able to make a statement following his sentencing, which Berman said is just part of the legal process. In the statement, Castro said things like the sex in the West Cleveland house where he held three women captive for over a decade was consensual, that the women were not virgins when he kidnapped them as girls, that he was abused as a child and was sick. Berman said it's not unusual for a defendant to say things of that manner.

"(It happens) particularly in cases where an extreme sentence is already booked into the proceeding," Berman said. "And so there's nothing the defendant can lose by trying to, you know, sort of justify or say something outrageous. And they think and know to some extent this is their last chance on a public stage."

 



Analysis during Castro's sentencing

August 1, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was featured as a legal expert on CNN throughout the network's coverage of the sentencing hearing of Ariel Castro, the man convicted of kidnapping and holding hostage three Cleveland women.

“He does have a right to speak if he wants to,” Berman said. “It’s much more for his symbolic effect, not whether it will affect the sentencing.”



Obama Can Fix the Race Gap in Sentencing Law

July 29, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman wrote an op-ed with Harlan Protass for Slate about the prospect of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder correcting racial discrimination in sentencing law.

“If President Obama is genuinely committed to addressing racial disparities in the enforcement of our criminal laws, he can grant clemency today, and then make a sustained commitment to addressing these issues throughout his second term. If he fails to do so, he can, justifiably, be called our nation’s “Coward-in-Chief” where race is concerned,” Berman writes.



 



Ring argued when appealing his conviction that the court should not have considered his legal campaign contributions as evidence he had corrupted public officials.

July 22, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in The Daily Caller about President Barack Obama's address following the reaction to the verdict in George Zimmerman's trial. Zimmerman was acquitted after being charged with manslaughter and second degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Obama touched on the "history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws," but Berman said if Obama were serious about addressing these disparities, he should throw his support behind criminal sentencing reform.

“Criticism of mandatory minimums has been of significant focal point for minority communities and those who are broadly concerned that certain populations uniquely bear the brunt of the criminal sentencing structure,” Berman said.



A few shotgun shells landed a man 15 years in federal prison

July 21, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in The Chattanooga Times Free Press in an article about a man who was given a 15-year jail sentence for possessing shotgun shells because he was a previously convicted felon. As many felons don't know that possessing any sort of firearm can land them longer sentences if convicted for other crimes, advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums wrote the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which aims to make sure sentencing is fair. Berman has written in support of the Act.

"Unlike what we think happens too much -- defendants get off on a technicality -- the government is kind of throwing the book at this guy over a technicality," Berman said.



Lawmakers consider bipartisan sentencing reform

July 10, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an article in The Daily Caller about adjusting the punishment for perpetrators of nonviolent crimes. He cites the example of drug-related charges, and says the Justice Safety Valve Act, which would give judges discretion to hand out lighter sentences if they feel the crime isn't severe, would restore some of the checks and balances of the American legal system.

“Just because the prosecutor is convinced you are a terrible SOB, that shouldn’t be enough,” Berman said. “They have to prove it to a jury and also convince a judge that the extreme sentence is appropriate. Mandatory minimums distort the system because they put this incredible power in the hands of the prosecutors.”

 



Seeking death for Ariel Castro could be difficult for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty

June 22, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an article in Cleveland's The Plain Dealer about the possibility of Ariel Castro receiving the death penalty for allegedly forcing one of three women he held captive for nearly 10 years to have abortions. Berman said the prosecutor, Timothy J. McGinty, will need to consider whether seeking the death penalty, and turning the case into "more of a spectacle than it already is," provides "corresponding benefits."

According to the article, Berman and others agreed that McGinty's biggest hurdle would be persuading a jury to return an aggravated murder conviction based on accusations that Castro caused one of the women to have a miscarriage.



Will ruling on criminal sentencing trickle down to states?

June 14, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Legal News article about this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed the sentencing of a defendant because it constituted ex post facto punishment. In a 5-4 decision, the court decided that sentencing a criminal defendant under later guidelines that provide for a higher sentence than those in effect at the time he committed his crimes violates the Ex Post Facto Clause. Berman said the court's ruling could have a lasting effect on sentencing laws.

“Sentencing laws are often changing. It can have lots of echo effects,” Berman said. He continued, “There’s no doubt that this somewhat robust approach to ex post facto may motivate more people to assert that a change in rules affects them, but the opinion is narrow enough and focused on the federal sentencing system, (and) I doubt it will be easy for many defendants to get any mileage out of it."



Experts Question Death Penalty in Cleveland Case

May 26, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an Associated Press article about whether a prosecutor can find success bringing death penalty charges against a man accused of kidnapping three women and forcing one of them into miscarriages through starvation and beatings. Experts have been presenting mixed opinions based on whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the man, Ariel Castro, caused these miscarriages. Ohio previously changed its laws to include the unlawful termination of a pregnancy among possible aggravated murder charges, said Berman, a death penalty expert.

"Ergo, Castro, at least as the facts have been described and developed, would seem to be the poster child for the worst of the worst unlawful pregnancy terminator," Berman said.

The article was printed by several news sources including The Washington Post, USA Today, ABC News, and The Canton Repository.



Matthew T. Mangino: Unprecedented pursuit of the death penalty

May 24, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an opinion piece in the Daily Review Atlas about the case involving the Cleveland man who kidnapped and raped three women over the course of about a decade. The article touches on the possibility of charging the man with aggravated murder for the alleged death of the unborn fetuses of the victims. Berman said it will be hard "to prove and establish" the death penalty on pregnancy termination.

The allegations and attempt to convict the man are unprecedented, Berman said.

“Nobody has ever been prosecuted (in) a full-fledged death penalty case based on pregnancy termination all the way through,” Berman said.



Mayor Asks Gun Executive to Give ‘Smart Guns’ a Chance

May 16, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the possibility of "smart guns" being developed. These are guns that could only be fired by their owner. Berman suggests a contest to create an effective version of the gun, which he says could save lives.

"More broadly, I think the development of a safer ‘smart gun’ could and should be spurred by some kind of ‘Project X’ private funding scheme through a university or think tank … I suspect just a few millions dollars as a “smart gun” prize (only a fraction of what is being poured into gun policy lobby shops and PACs) could go a very long way to moving forward and ultimately saving innocent lives."



Why Might the Cleveland Kidnapper Get Charged With Murder?

May 13, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a National Journal article about the case prosecutors have against Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro should they pursue murder charges against him. Prosecutors intend to charge Castro with murder for killing unborn fetuses in at least one of his three kidnapping victims. Berman said the way Ohio law is worded, there will not be a new precedent set for abortion, as aggravated murder law to be used against Castro is very specific to the crime he'd be accused of committing.

“As long as we don’t let the advocates take over the debate, we should be able to sort this out without any profound consequences to any other area of the law,” he said.



Tommy talks to Doug Berman about Ariel Castro

May 13, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was interviewed by Tommy Tucker of New Orleans' WWL AM870 about the possibility of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro receiving the death penalty if charged with the unlawful termination of the pregnancies of one of his victims. Berman discussed the fact that Ohio law considers the death penalty in aggravated murder cases. He said if Castro is charged with aggravated murder, the death penalty could be his sentence, but right now those charges are just a possible outcome.

"The Ohio legislature has specifically provided that (aggravated murder is) a charge that can be brought not only for causing the death of a person but also for the, and this is the key language, unlawful termination of a pregnancy. And I think the key to sorting this out, and again it may seem like lawyer technicalities, not logic, is that term ‘unlawful,’" Berman said. "What Ohio has done, and I think it’s permissible for them to do this, is to say that when it’s an unlawful termination of a pregnancy, then that’s considered comparable to causing the death of a person, and as a result all the same homicide charges that would possibly be there when you unlawfully kill a person also apply when you unlawfully terminate a pregnancy."



Could Ariel Castro be tried for murder? Case would be unprecedented

May 10, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article about the possibiliy of Cleveland man Ariel Castro, who kidnapped 3 women and held them hostage for nearly a decade, being charged with homicide for causing the death of a victim's unborn fetuses.

He said the prosecutors might be trying to coax a guilty plea from Castro.

“This kind of huffing and puffing does a nice job in convincing the public the prosecutors are taking this very seriously, and it makes it very easy for them to say to Castro it’s time to plead guilty for something that will put you in prison for the rest of your life,” he said.



A Saner Approach to Sentencing

May 8, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman co-authored an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about the Justice Safety Act of 2013, which aims to address mandatory-minimum sentencing laws and prison overcrowding.

"Though good political rhetoric, mandatory-minimum sentencing laws have proven to be bad policy. They transfer enormous power to prosecutors - who choose the charges to bring - and federal judges regularly complain of being required to impose excessively long prison terms to nonviolent offenders. These laws also fueled a federal-prison population explosion - with its consequent financial costs, ruined lives and broken families."



Berman and Protass: A Saner Approach to Sentencing

May 7, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman, along with Harlan Protass, a criminal defense lawyer, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about an approach to sentencing that they makes common sense, something the current system is lacking. Evidence for this, they say is that the effort has gained bipartisan support.

"There are few topics on which leading Democratic and Republican voices agree these days. But the recently introduced Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013—which would authorize federal judges to impose prison terms below statutory mandatory minimums in some cases—represents a new bipartisan effort at addressing America's overcrowded prisons and bloated budget," they write.



Will Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Get the Death Penalty?

May 3, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was featured as a guest on Legal Talk Network’s Lawyer 2 Lawyer program, where he discussed the trial and prosecution of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. One point Berman touched on was that although the death penalty is not a sentencing option in Massachusetts, where Tsarnaev would likely go on trial, a change of venue could bring the trial to a more death penalty friendly state.

“Here if the venue was changed, then at least there’s a good possibility it could go to a state which is more pro-death penalty than is Massachusetts,” Berman said. “Just because Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty doesn’t mean that there aren’t people here who don’t favor it. So it’s not like you’re not going to find sentiment for it here in Massachusetts even though it’s not a possibility at the state level as a sentencing option.”



California prisons: Gov. Jerry Brown offers plan for overcrowding crisis 'under protest'

May 3, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News article about California Governor Jerry Brown's attempt to find a solution for overcrowding in California prisons. Following an order by federal judges, Brown submitted a plan to reduce the prison population by about 10,000 inmates in the next year.

Judges in 2009 ordered the state to reduce its inmate population to about 110,000 inmates at its 33 prisons, well below highs that have reached 160,000 in the past. The Supreme Court upheld those orders in 2010, although in a sharply divided 5-4 decision. Legal experts say that close vote may indicate some justices would be receptive to Brown's appeal, but predict the court may be reluctant to jump into the prison controversy again.

"Because it's fact-specific and always evolving, I'd be surprised if they take it again," Berman said.



Should Prosecutors Insist on Death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

May 2, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the National Journal in an article discussing whether prosecutors ought to insist Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev receive the death penalty. Defense attorney Judy Clarke, who is known for helping clients avoid execution, recently joined Tsarnaev's team.

Berman said he isn’t so sure the government won’t want to strike a bargain if Clarke begins to punch holes in its case and threatens to turn a trial (and the inevitable appeals) into a lengthy spectacle. “The prosecution’s case is as good right now as it is ever going to be,” he said, “and the defense is just getting revved up.”

Berman said the case raises the question, “Whose interest can and should a prosecutor be thinking about serving: the interests of the United States of America, whatever that means? The interests of the citizens of Boston? What does it mean to serve justice?”



Balancing State and Federal Roles in Boston Bomber Case

April 24, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an article from Stateline about the possibility of a death sentence for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Massachusetts is not a death penalty state, but Berman said that does not necessarily mean the federal government won't pursue it.

“But it’s well established that the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are separate sovereigns and each side has the right to vindicate its interest,” Berman said. 



Balancing the State and Federal Roles in Boston Bomber Case

April 24, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in Stateline regarding the punishment faced by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing suspect. Tsarnaev faces federal charges that include the death penalty despite the law being repealed in the state of Massachusetts in the 1980s. "So far, no Massachusetts authorities have publicly objected to a potential death sentence, but the case does raise federalism questions," said Berman.



Matthew T. Mangino: The trial penalty

April 12, 2013

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a column on PostStarNews.com regarding the difficulties convicted criminals face by going to trial. Berman wrote recently that "if the Department of Justice was truly concerned about unwarranted sentencing disparity in financial fraud cases … (rather than with) … defendants who have the temerity to exercise their trial rights … then federal prosecutors ought to consider supporting Ms. Morgan's sentencing appeal.”



Ohio man who killed 6-month-old girl seeks mercy

April 2, 2013

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in The Washington Post regarding the execution of Steven Smith who killed a six-month-old child. Berman claimed that Smith's lawyers will have an "uphill battle" because of the additional rape charge. "But if the lawyers for this defendant can legitimately assert that the evidence doesn't show or support that this was an intentional killing, not only is it appropriate to bring this up at clemency, I think they're obliged, representing their client appropriately, to stress this point," Berman said.


Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/04/02/2704203/ohio-man-who-sexually-assaulted.html#storylink=cpy



The Cautionary Instruction: The trial penalty

March 15, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regarding the idea of the "trial penalty." "Ohio State University Law Professor Douglas A. Berman wrote recently that if the Department of Justice was truly concerned about unwarranted sentencing disparity in financial fraud cases… (rather than with)…defendants who have the temerity to exercise their trial rights…then federal prosecutors ought to consider supporting Ms. Morgan's sentencing appeal. Marian Morgan and her husband John were arrested for a $28 million Ponzi scheme. John plea bargained for 10 years. Marian went to trial and got a 35 year sentence," the article read.



Sequester As Opportunity? Simple Ways To Cut Prison Spending, Maybe Avoid Furloughs

March 11, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman's blog "Sentencing Law and Policy," was quoted in an op-ed on Forbes.com reviewing a post in which he wrote about cutting spending on prisons. "Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, makes the succinct argument that the ominous-sounding sequester could provide an opportunity to 'improve the administration of justice and save money if [the Department of Justice] and [Bureau of Prisons] and others would use existing statutory mechanisms to reduce federal prison populations and costs,'" the article read.



Anonymous Takes On State Department, More Banks

February 19, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was cited in an article by Information Week Security regarding the hacking on the United States government by the Anonymous hactivist collective. "I would like to believe our government is functional enough to find some other way to get this out officially," Berman told the Journal. "I don't want to be the only reporter of record for all this material."



Jackson may lose federal pension

February 19, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in the Chicago Tribune regarding the federal investigation of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. "His exposure — the most he could properly get if the judge decides to throw the book at him — clearly is at least five years," Berman said, "and it may be significantly more."



After ‘Anonymous’ Attack, Sentencing Body Seeks Blogger’s Help

February 14, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman is known nationally as an expert on sentencing law, which is precisely why the U.S. Sentencing Commission asked him for a favor in the wake of its own website being dismantled by hackers. Would Berman mind publishing the commission's new report on federal sentencing on his own blog?

The story was covered by The Wall Street Journal, which included Berman's own thoughts on the topic: “I would like to believe our government is functional enough to find some other way to get this out officially,” Berman said. “I don’t want to be the only reporter of record for all this material.”



Racial Gap in Men's Sentencing

February 14, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal in a story about a new sentencing guidelines report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that found prison sentences of black men were nearly 20 percent longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years.

"It's not surprising that the commission that's in charge of both monitoring and amending the guidelines has a general affinity for the guidelines," Berman said.



Behind the Cover Story: Emily Bazelon on Pornography and Punishment

January 28, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was referenced in The New York Times in an article based on an interview with Emily Bazelon, who wrote a cover article for The New York Times Magazine about victims of child pornography seeking restitution from those who looked at them.

Bazelon said it was one of Berman’s blog posts that first turned her onto the topic.



Judge rejects Donahoe’s request to withdraw from marijuana case

January 15, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was mentioned in a Helena Independent Record article about a federal judge refusing to remove a defense attorney from a marijuana case. The attorney said he requested removal after reading one of Berman’s blog posts on the case.



MT: Attorney Asks to Withdraw from Chris Williams Case

January 9, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The Daily Chronic in an article about the defense attorney for former Montana medical marijuana dispensary operator Chris Williams. The attorney filed a motion to withdraw from the case less than a month before sentencing, and said he believes Berman's blog may have caused his client to question his likelihood of success in the case.

In a Jan. 2 blog post, “Plead Guilty or Go to Prison for Life,” Berman wrote about the case, criticizing prosecutors for dropping 75 percent of the charges after conviction and wrote that the attorney allowed Williams to be “coerced by the threat of an extreme (and I think unconstitutional) sentence into giving up his appeal rights.”

“Prosecutors here are not merely nullifying many jury convictions, but they are doing so only after essentially blackmailing the defendant to give up his rights to contest his other convictions on appeal,” Berman wrote.



Donahoe asks to withdraw from Chris Williams marijuana case

January 9, 2013

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in the Billings Gazette regarding the case of Christopher Williams' marijuana conviction. "I’m a full-time law professor at Ohio State, and I don’t know if I could (represent Williams) if I wanted to,” Berman said. “But the legal issues are very interesting and that’s what’s drawn my attention to the case.”



Californian death penalty fight goes on, despite vote

November 8, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in The Guardian regarding the vote on the death penalty in California.  "A lot of things slowed down with this initiative on the horizon," Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor, told the paper. "The pregnant question going forward in California is, OK, with [Proposition 34] cleared out, do we get a serious progression toward executions and, then, what's the public response to that going to be?"



Defeat of Proposition 34: California's death penalty battle will continue

November 7, 2012

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an article by Mercury News about what the defeat of Proposition 34 in California means for the future of the capital punishment system. "A lot of things slowed down with this initiative on the horizon," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. "The pregnant question going forward in California is, OK, with (Proposition 34) cleared out, do we get a serious progression toward executions and, then, what's the public response to that going to be?"



In Gupta Sentencing, a Judgment Call

October 10, 2012

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the upcoming sentencing of former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta. The guidelines are "just kind of running up numbers on a balance sheet," said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert in sentencing law who has consulted for defense lawyers. Federal law says sentences should be "sufficient, but not greater than necessary" in order to punish the defendant, reflect the seriousness of the offense and provide deterrence.



Around the Blawgosphere: SCOTUSblog Hits 10-Year Mark; Building an Affordable Suit Wardrobe

October 1, 2012

Professor Doug Berman was mentioned in an ABA Journal article, which noted that Berman's blog, Sentencing and Law Policy, had recently questioned why the Presidential candidates had not spent any time discussing their respective positions on the death penalty. "The federal death penalty has been in a mysterious state of suspension even since the Baze [v. Rees] lethal injection litigation created a moratorium on executions more than five years ago," Berman said. "The federal chief executive (and his appointed attorney general) has some unique death penalty responsibilities and thus ought to at some point in a campaign speak to his views on how best to discharge these responsibilities."



Pennsylvania High Court to Make Make Key Call on Juvenile Life Sentences

September 12, 2012

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in a Juvenile Justice Information Exchange article about a Pennsylvania Supreme Court hearing on whether 400 inmates convicted as murder as juveniles should be given the chance for parole in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama. “It’s in no one’s interest to litigate this,” Berman said.



Prosecutor: Diversion program saves system money and time

August 13, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Springfield News-Sun article about a first-time felony offender diversion program, which aims to reduce low-level felony cases in court and save taxpayers’ money.

“There needs to be an effort to make sure the program is tailored to the unique needs of classes of offenders,” Berman said. “Prison is a very expensive way to deal with low-level criminal offenses.”



Letting the Punishment Fit the Crime

July 20, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was referenced in a Rockwall Herald Banner article for his writing about creative sentencing on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog.

The article, which was also published on Dallas Blog, noted Berman wrote, “When done well by the right folks with the right idea in mind, creative sentencing can be a good thing. There are lots of folks for whom prison may do more harm than good, not just for themselves but for society.”



Rethinking ‘Tough on Crime’

June 28, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The Crime Report in an article that analyzed criminal convictions and primarily California’s three-strikes law.

“Even as we’re seeing a nationwide movement to cut back on the most draconian mandatory minimums, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many of them taken off the books entirely,” Berman said. “There will be a draw toward mandating that folks who commit serious violent crimes serve a significant period of prison time.”



Supreme Court split over defendants’ rights to confront lab analysts

June 18, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman weighed in on an article for The Washington Post about the Supreme Court revising the process which gives the right to criminal defendants to front concerns about crime-lab reports used against them.

In the article, Berman referred to the 98-page decision which took six months to reach as “a bloody mess.” Berman also said it was the best way to deal with prosecutors’ worries about the criminal justice system.



Summary Judgments for May 24

May 24, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman's blog was referenced in a Thomson Reuters post about Ted Kaczynski, commonly known as the Unabomber, not attending his 50th reunion at Harvard University. Kaczynski submitted a lighthearted entry about his prison sentence to the University’s 1962 alumni report, drawing Berman's attention. The Moritz professor and sentencing expert questioned the appropriateness of finding the entry amusing.



Gabriela Compton Sentencing: Lawyer Weighs in on the Controversy and Our Prurience

May 17, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman weighed in on a Phoenix New Times article about former Arizona middle school teacher’s aide Gabriela Compton receiving probation for sexual relations with minors.

Berman said the sentencing "reinforces my sense that adult females sexually involved with under-age boys sometimes get much more lenient sentencing treatment than similarly situated males."



Panels created to quell controversy

April 28, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Examiner article about a three-judge panel formed for sentencing a recent drunk driving case in Maryland.

"There's some value in having a panel double-check whether that's not just permissible, but a good judgment," Berman said of review panels correcting extreme sentences.



Bias Law Used to Move a Man Off Death Row

April 20, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in articles in The New York Times and the San Jose Mercury News regarding North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. The act allows defendants and death row inmates the right to present evidence that racial discrimination played roles in their death sentences.

"In a weird way, this ruling vindicates critics of racial justice acts, because they tend to say when we start opening up old cases it will be too easy for the defense bar to prove some kind of racial injustice and therefore stop the death penalty altogether," Berman said.



Obama Hasn’t Reformed Criminal Justice—Could Romney Do Better?

April 13, 2012

Professor Doug Berman wrote a column for The Daily Beast on whether Mitt Romney would be a better candidate for a reformed criminal justice system than incumbent President Barack Obama.

"Without having to do any major Etch a Sketching, Romney could embrace what Right On Crime calls the 'conservative case' for criminal-justice reform," Berman wrote.



Tough choice looms for Florida prosecutor in Trayvon Martin shooting death

April 10, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The New York Times in an article discussing the decision facing  Angela B. Corey, the Florida state attorney in the Trayvon Martin case.

"It's inevitable whatever she chooses to do will be subject to questioning and potential attack if the choices don't fit a particular group's narrative vision of what took place," Berman said.



A vote against death penalty

April 6, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article on Philly.com by the Associated Press discussing the Connecticut Senate's vote to repeal the death penalty.

Berman was quoted as saying the possibility of punishing the innocent is the biggest factor in states' decisions to rethink capital punishment.

"That has the most profound and enduring resonance as an argument and one that can never be pushed back," Berman said.



Tool Available to Law Firms Compares Judge-by-Judge Sentencing Patterns

March 7, 2012

A comment on Professor Douglas Berman’s Sentencing Law and Policy blog was referred to in an American Bar Association Journal article.

In the article, which was about the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse tool comparing judge-by-judge sentencing patterns, it noted the commenter wrote, “The data is extensive and should provide academics with a great resource. However, the Sentencing Commission data would be more detailed. The cat, as they say, is now out of the bag. There is no longer any reason for the Sentencing Commission not to release judge-specific data.”



Wide Sentencing Disparity Found Among U.S. Judges

March 5, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article by the New York Times regarding Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse gathering data providing sentencing patterns by judges.

“It’s profoundly valuable that TRAC will assemble this data,” Berman said. “But now it’s profoundly important that serious researchers get to the data.”



Ohio school shooting: What lies ahead for suspect T.J. Lane?

February 29, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman weighed in with his predictions about the sentencing of T.J. Lane, who is the suspect in a Chardon High School shooting, in a Los Angeles Times article.

“My sense is that certainly his competency to stand trial or enter a plea will be considered,” Berman said. “There is a high standard to have him declared incompetent.... There is a general disinclination to declare the younger offender insane.”



Creative Sentencing: Red Lobster and Bowling.

February 8, 2012

Professor Doug Berman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal Law Blog in a post about a man who was sentenced to a date night as his punishment. Berman, who said he generally supports creative sentencing, pointed to cases across the country where judges have ordered defendants to enter in to education programs or write reports on Shakespeare.

“When done well by the right folks with the right idea in mind, creative sentencing can be a good thing. There are lots of folks for whom prison may do more harm than good, not just for themselves but for society,” he said. But the question is, can judges really order people to do such strange things? “And the answer is it’s not clear, in part because judges don’t do this much,” Berman said. ”There’s not a lot of law out there on this, and this stuff usually comes up in settings where it’s awfully unlikely to be litigated.”



Federal Appeals Court Upholds Life Sentences for Child Porn Trafficking, Nixes Restitution

February 7, 2012

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an ABA Journal article on a federal appeals court  affirmation of the life sentences given to seven participants in an international child pornography trafficking ring, but it has vacated a $3.3 million restitution award against one of the defendants on behalf of one of the victims.  Berman said  the decision would not be particularly newsworthy but for the lengthy discussion of the issues surrounding child porn restitution awards about two-thirds of the way through the 130-page opinion.



GOP Seeks Big Changes In Federal Prison Sentences

January 31, 2012

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed by NPR about the inconsistent application of federal sentences from state to state -- an issue Republicans in Congress want to examine closer. A sentencing expert, Berman said, "The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable."

Berman added that judges think many of the suggested punishments are too tough, especially in the areas of corporate fraud and child pornography, where the guidelines call for people who download images of children to sometimes get upward of 20 years behind bars.

"There's 2,000 child porn cases, and about 1,200 of them have below-guideline sentences, and they're all white defendants," Berman said. "And so now I think the easiest explanation for that entire 20 percent — or if not the entire 20 percent, than at least a big part of that — is, in fact, white child porn downloaders are getting significant leniency."



Condemned inmates pursuing funding for tests as part of clemency bids in Ky.

December 30, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was referenced in an article by the Associate Press published in The Republic. The article drew upon multiple sources to predict whether Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear would grant clemency to two residents given the death sentence.

“‘Lame duck’ governors are more likely to commute a death sentence,” the article quoted Berman. "Those are the moments at which ... a governor recognizes they are going to have an opportunity to do something the new folks may not be able to do."



New Death Sentences Fall to Lowest Level in 35 Years .

December 15, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article about a report finding a sharp drop in violent crime, the high cost of pursuing executions, and shifts in state sentencing laws have helped push the number of new death sentences in the U.S. to the lowest level in 35 years.

A sentencing-law expert, Berman said states are also turning away from the death penalty because capital cases can be extremely costly. "States are just taking a harder look than ever at whether an individual case is worth it," he said.



Crime doesn't pay

December 1, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman's theory that the decrease in violent crime nationally could, in part, be explained by people spending more time indoors with technological gadgets was referenced in a column in the magazine The American Spectator.

"Berman says people today spend less time outside where they might fall victim to violent crime, and more time inside at their computers, big-screen TVs, and video games. This may explain why, in my inner-city neighborhood at least, most crimes seem to be property related (smash and grabs from cars and stolen copper pipes from empty homes), instead of violent crimes."



Crowded Prisons: Calif. Solving Problem If Not Cause

November 27, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed by NPR for a segment on California’s overcrowded prisons. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled the conditions in the Golden State’s prisons violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Host Audie Cornish interviwed Berman, who says the popular "tough on crime" mantra helps explain why so many American prisons are over-capacity.



Abuse Claims Less Likely to Be Ignored

November 25, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article about how a string of high-profile child-molestation cases does not portend to an increase in sexual-abuse crimes. Instead, experts say, society has become more aware of the threat of child sexual abuse, and far more aggressive about investigating and punishing it. Sentences have grown longer, and the number of people listed on sex-offender registries has jumped.

"A lot more untoward behavior towards kids is recast as a serious felony when maybe in the past it would be sloughed off as, 'There goes that crazy uncle again,' or variations on that theme," said Berman, an expert in criminal sentencing.



Florida man gets life sentence for child pornography: Too severe?

November 8, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Christian Post in an article about the life-in-prison sentence a Florida circuit court judge gave to a man whose home computer contained hundreds of pornographic images of children. Daniel Enrique Guevara Vilca, 26, would not be eligible for parole either.

Berman wrote about Vilca's case and whether the punishment fit the crime in his blog, Sentencing and Law Policy. “To me, a failure to distinguish between people who look at these dirty pictures and people who commit contact offenses lacks the nuance and proportionality I think our law demands," Berman wrote.



Former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's resentencing shines spotlight on judge

November 7, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article about the resentencing of state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, which was prompted by the an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The reversal forces U.S. District Court Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter to consider giving Fumo more time or fix legal errors and reinstate Fumo's 55-month sentence.

"There's no doubt that the district judge doesn't like being told, 'You got a F on your paper, and now redo it,' " Berman said.



Does Possessing Child Porn Deserve Life Without Parole?

November 5, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Crime Report in an article about the life-in-prison sentence a Florida circuit court judge gave to a man whose home computer contained hundreds of pornographic images of children. Daniel Enrique Guevara Vilca, 26, would not be eligible for parole either.

Berman wrote about Vilca's case and whether the punishment fit the crime in his blog, Sentencing and Law Policy. “To me, a failure to distinguish between people who look at these dirty pictures and people who commit contact offenses lacks the nuance and proportionality I think our law demands," Berman wrote.



Life Sentence for Possession of Child Pornography Spurs Debate Over Severity

November 4, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The New York Times in an article about the life-in-prison sentence a Florida circuit court judge gave to a man whose home computer contained hundreds of pornographic images of children. Daniel Enrique Guevara Vilca, 26, would not be eligible for parole either.

Berman wrote about Vilca's case and whether the punishment fit the crime in his blog, Sentencing and Law Policy. The following excerpt was quoted by The Times: “To me, a failure to distinguish between people who look at these dirty pictures and people who commit contact offenses lacks the nuance and proportionality I think our law demands."



The Cost of Death

November 1, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was cited in a piece published by Boston Review, the literary magazine, about capital punishment. "Berman has calculated that about one in ten thousand state felony sentences is a death sentence, yet the Court devotes more resources to reviewing death sentences than to reviewing claims in all other criminal cases combined," the article states.



21 named to review death penalty in Ohio

November 1, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman has been tapped for a joint task force examining whether Ohio's death penalty is administered in the most fair and judicious manner possible, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch. Berman is one of only two professors named to the task force this week by the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association.



California's execution machine could crank up

October 15, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by the San Jose Mercury News in an article about a dozen death-row inmates who have exhausted their appeals and could be executed if a legal challenge to California's lethal injection method is resolved. Based on Ohio's experience, California could simply just grow accustomed to executions, with positions for and against the death penalty remaining firmly entrenched across the state.

"As you have a couple, people get exhausted," said Berman, a sentencing expert. "There's always less attention for No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 5. You get less of a fight progressively down the line."



Florida firing squads? What has death penalty supporters all riled up?

October 15, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Christian Science Monitor, an international newspaper published online daily and weekly in print, in an article about a proposed bill in Florida that would replace lethal injection with death by either electrocution or firing squad.

Extreme remarks about the death penalty are merely “red meat for a political conversation,” said Berman, a sentencing expert. “That is part of the broader story of the death penalty. It is much more about rhetoric than reality,” he said.



Galleon Chief Sentenced to 11-Year Term in Insider Case

October 13, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The New York Times DealBook about the prison sentence for former hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam. The 54-year-old former head of the Galleon Group hedge fund was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday, longest prison sentence ever for insider trading. A jury convicted Rajaratnam of securities fraud and conspiracy in May after a two-month trial.

“Often the question is raised, ‘Why shouldn’t crime in the suites be punished as severely as crimes on the streets?’ ” said Berman, an expert in sentencing. “While that sounds like a sound bite, it’s an important question.”

He later added: “Unless people can identify lost money as a result of insider trading, or have had their savings stolen by (Bernard) Madoff, they don’t view their own economic difficulties as being caused by a few bad apples. They see the problems with our economy and financial markets as far more systemic than that.”



Rajaratnam sentenced to 11 years for insider trading

October 13, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by the website Main Justice, which covers insider news about the U.S. Department of Justice. In a story about former hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam's sentencing of 11 years in prison for insider trading, the site picked up a quote Berman gave The New York Times on the subject.

“Unless people can identify lost money as a result of insider trading, or have had their savings stolen by (Bernard) Madoff, they don’t view their own economic difficulties as being caused by a few bad apples," said Berman, an expert in sentencing. "They see the problems with our economy and financial markets as far more systemic than that.”



Arizona City Bans Convicted Sex Offenders From All Public Facilities

September 30, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the ABA Journal about an Huachuca City, AZ law that bans sex offenders from all public facilities. The law is a "uniquely broad" one, says Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman.



Ohio Governor Earning Reputation for Clemency.

September 27, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article detailing Ohio Gov. John Kasich's decision to grant clemency to two death-row inmates within a four-month span. According to the article, Kasich also stepped in to help reduce the charges of Kelley Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio, who faked her home address to get her children into a different public school.

“This is unprecedented in modern times,” said Berman, author of the blog Sentencing and Law Policy, of the clemencies given in the short amount of time.

Berman added that when factoring in the Kelley Williams-Bolar decision, the governor seems particularly willing to hear pleas of leniency.



Execution Offers Little Closure in Debate

September 22, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman, who teaches sentencing law, was quoted by The New York Times in an article pertaining to the execution of Troy Davis, an African-American man who was controversially convicted of murdering a white policeman in 1989. The sentencing and progress of the case over the last two decades has widened fault lines on the death penalty, according to the article.

“I’m not sure we’re going to have a healthy national dialogue," Berman said of the death penalty.

“Many of the people asserting confidence in his guilt are much more expressing confidence in our legal system and our jury system,” Berman said. “That’s why the shouting gets so loud — because what is nominally a factual issue of his guilt is really a dispute over how that issue gets resolved."



How to Explain the Nation’s Crime Rate?

September 16, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy Blog was quoted by The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog in an entry about the continued -- and surprising -- decline in crime rates across the United States. Berman wrote that he remains “stunned” by crime rate trends. “Nobody can seem to figure out just how or why, it seems that the governments in the U.S. over the last few decades are continuing to get better and better and better at succeeding in making its citizens safer from crime.”



Court Rejects Restitution for Victim in Porn Case

September 8, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The New York Times in an article about a child pornography case in which the victim seeks restitution from those who possessed the images but had no hand in creating them. Federal courts of appeals in various circuits have ruled differently on the case -- some upholding court-ordered payments, others not. Berman, an expert on sentencing issues, said that the latest decision suggests that judges are becoming “notably less eager to fudge the law” on the question of causation “to enable an obviously deserving victim to collect from an obviously unpleasant defendant” in these cases. “The law,” he said, “does not connect the dots here.”



Presidential debate: Did Brian Williams come up lame on death penalty?

September 8, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman's blog was quoted extensively by The Washington Post in its own blog about news media. The entry focused on Brian Williams' questions about the death penalty in an NBC/Politico presidential debate with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Berman, author of the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, criticized Williams for posing a death penalty question that’s “both weak and readily enabled Gov. Perry to provide a standard-issue pro-death penalty response.” The blog recommends the following questions to keep Perry away from his pat lines.



Betty Jefferson and Mark St. Pierre sentences contrast

September 2, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans in a story about two corruption cases in which the two defendants received very different federal sentences.

"The reality is, if you cooperate with the government, they begin to look at you through rose-colored glasses," said Berman, author of the blog Sentencing and Law Policy. "Instead of working themselves up on how big a S.O.B. you are, they work on how best to present you in court. The government starts with a very adversarial relationship and it goes to a positive, almost same-team, relationship.

"It's the other extreme for the person that goes to trial, doesn't cooperate, and pushes the government to meet the burden of proof," he said.



Kentucky Weighs Taking Softer Approach to Juvenile Crime.

August 18, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was cited in a Wall Street Journal Law Blog entry about sentencing for juveniles. Berman gave a sneak peek at a fortcoming law review article on his Sentencing Law and Policy Blog. In response to a recent Supreme Court decision regarding sentencing of juveniles, the law reviwe article's author states: “What certain crimes reveal is that that there are violent juvenile offenders – fortunately rare – who are as least as mature and culpable as the typical adult violent offender. . .The [Supreme] Court’s central claim about the relative culpability of adult and juvenile offenders originates from a failure to confront inconvenient facts.”
 



Casey Anthony verdict doesn’t require new laws

July 25, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an opinion piece published by The Miami Herald.  The author, Maureen Martin of The Heartland Institute, pulled a comment Berman gave media following the Casey Anthony verdict. Berman said, “It’s not just that the jury decision came out differently than we had hoped, it’s that the jury decision wasn’t a statement of her innocence. It was a statement of ‘We can’t figure out what happened.’ And in some sense, that’s even more frustrating than if the jury said, ‘We don’t think she did it.’ ”



Length of sentences continues to be a challenge in DUI fatalities

July 24, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by the Missoulian in an article about sentencings in DUI fatalities in Montana. "My sense is this is part of a broader sense of changing norms," said Berman, who writes the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. "Judges are much less likely nationwide to say, ‘Well, it's just darned bad luck that the one time you drank and drove, you hit somebody.' "



Video of a Lethal Injection Reopens Questions on the Privacy of Executions

July 23, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The New York Times in a piece about videotaping executions and the issue of privacy. Berman, who commented about it on his blog, Sentencing and Law Policy, said, “I think it would be foolish for anybody who is authorizing or supervising the videotaping of executions to assume that it will always remain sealed and unseen.” He later added that he is less worried about videos of executions being misused if they became widely available than he is about people becoming indifferent to them. People might say, “Gosh, it looks like what they did to my pet,” he said.



Arson bill part of debate over mandatory sentences in Pa.

July 23, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted by The Philadelphia Inquirer and other news outlets about mandatory sentencing in arson cases. Berman, who's written widely on mandatory minimums, said that district attorneys use them as a way of pressuring defendants into plea bargains and that they imply that "we don't trust judges to always impose a tough-enough sentence."



Meth Addict With Flame Thrower to Be Spared Prison as States Cut

July 20, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was a source for a Bloomberg Businessweek article on states' cuts to prison systems. The nation’s great lock-up began in the late 1960s and early 1970s with crime-busting measures such as “three strikes” laws -- mandatory prison terms after three or more serious offenses -- that put repeat offenders behind bars for extended periods, according to Berman.



California Prisons Bar Media Access to Striking Prisoners.

July 19, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman's recent post to his Sentencing Law and Policy blog was mentioned by The Wall Street Journal law blog. Berman focused on the California prison system's refusal of media requests for interviews with prisoners on hunger strike. "The Supreme Court, Berman points out, has said that prisoners have limited First Amendment rights while in the slammer," www.wsj.com paraphrases, "Still, 'these rights are not completely extinguished,' he writes. 'In addition, I would think the traditional media might be able to assert some of its own First Amendment rights to try to get access to at least a few of the hunger-striking prisoners.' "



Criminal Justice and Media Frenzy.

July 12, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was on WOSU's All Sides with Ann Fisher discussing criminal justice and media frenzy, in particular the Casey Anthony case.



Verdict brought few answers in Caylee Anthony case

July 10, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an Associated Press article, which was picked up by MSNBC.com, the Washington Post, and hundreds of other papers, on the lack of answers following the Casey Anthony trial. "One of the quite healthy and appropriate satisfactions we get out of a well-functioning justice system is the belief that the justice system will give us the best answers to questions," said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. Berman, the Ohio State professor, has another theory about why folks are so frustrated: Casey Anthony never spoke. The defense made a strategic decision for Anthony not to testify — a decision that clearly worked in her favor, he said. "It's not just that the jury decision came out differently than we had hoped, it's that the jury decision wasn't a statement of her innocence. It was a statement of 'We can't figure out what happened.' And in some sense, that's even more frustrating than if the jury said, 'We don't think she did it.'"



Around the Blawgosphere: Bloggers Sound off on Casey Anthony Trial, Verdict, ‘Caylee’s Law’ Proposal

July 9, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was mentioned in an ABA Journal article about the blog traffic surrounding the Casey Anthony trial. At Sentencing Law and Policy, Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman theorized that the prosecution's decision to pursue the death penalty may have led the jury to believe that prosecutors had a "smoking gun" that they didn't really have. "When no such smoking gun was presented by the prosecution, the jurors may have ultimately been much more willing (and perhaps even eager) to find reasonable doubt on all serious charges." Berman felt his suspicions were confirmed by the first juror who spoke to the media, and notes her comments in a later post.



Judge delays condemned Ohio killer's execution

July 8, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an Associated Press article, which was picked up by dozens of newspapers nationwide, about a U.S. District Court decision to stay the execution of an Ohio death row inmate because of the state's "haphazard application" of its death penalty protocols. Sentencing expert Doug Berman said Frost's ruling could halt other executions in Ohio and could be a rallying point for death row inmates nationally. "States are often modifying their execution process 'on the fly,' especially as they struggle to find the drugs necessary to conduct lethal injections," said Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.



 

 



Casey Anthony found not guilty of murdering daughter

July 6, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was featured on the noon hour of MSNBC discussing the Casey Anthony verdict.  Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University, said that while popular opinion came to the conclusion Anthony was guilty, jurors must hold to a higher standard — one of  guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  "In some sense, it's a sign that the system worked well," Berman said. "The job of the system is not to turn this into a Hollywood ending, but to have all the actors in the system do the job to the best of their ability."



Why Casey Anthony Should Be Glad She Won’t Be Sentenced in Federal Court

July 6, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an ABA Journal article discussing how Casey Anthony's sentence would be different if she was convicted in federal court instead of state court. Anthony was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement, but acquitted on more serious charges of murder and manslaughter. In state court, she is looking at a maximum sentence of four years in prison, according to Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman. In federal court, she could get 20 years in prison for similar conduct.

Providing false information is a misdemeanor in Florida, but in the federal system such conduct could be prosecuted as obstruction of justice, a felony, Berman says. Each count would carry a maximum five-year term, for a total of 20 years.

“Most critically,” Berman wsaid, “the federal sentencing guidelines would instruct a judge to sentence Anthony based essentially on the crime he believes, based on a perponderance of evidence, she covered up even after a jury has acquitted her of that crime. In other words, it is not only possible, but surprisingly common, for a federal judge to sentence a defendant for a murder that the defendant has been acquitted of!”



Anthony verdict a victory for "reasonable doubt," experts say

July 5, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted by Reuters and dozens of newspapers about the verdict in the Casey Anthony case. Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University, said popular opinion came to the conclusion the 25 year-old Anthony was guilty, but that jurors must hold to a higher standard than the average citizen watching on TV. That standard is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"In some sense, it's a sign that the system worked well," Berman said. "The job of the system is not to turn this into a Hollywood ending, but to have all the actors in the system do the job to the best of their ability."

The case against Anthony, who had faced the possibility of the death penalty if found guilty of murdering her daughter, was short on forensic evidence, such as Caylee's time or manner of death, Berman said. Berman said popular television show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" has influenced jurors in recent years, by giving them the false impression every case has the same clear-cut forensic evidence featured in that fictional series.

"There's been a lot of speculation that lay jurors have now gotten even less likely to convict, because they're under the false impression that every case is going to have some sort of forensic smoking gun," he said.



Casey Anthony Found Guilty

July 5, 2011

Professor Doug Berman appeared on Channel 10 news in Columbus discussing the Casey Anthony verdict.



US prisoners sentenced under strict crack cocaine laws get relief

July 1, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Minnesota Post article about the U.S. Sentencing Commissions' recent decision to shorten the sentences of about 12,000 federal prisoners originally convicted under strict crack cocaine laws.  "The crux of the debate is that it's one thing to say, 'Let's do better in the future,' and it's another thing to say that somebody who was at least theoretically aware of how harsh the sentences were are now in some sense getting a windfall," says Doug Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University. "But I think a majority of people wouldn't say it's a windfall; it's just making an injustice less unjust."



Myths Of The Criminal Justice System: Part 1

June 20, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Huffington Post in a post by reporter Radley Balko addressing the common belief that the government cannot punish someone for a crime without first convicting that person. According to Douglas Berman, who teaches at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and writes the blog Sentencing Law and Policy, three federal appeals courts (the 7th, 8th, and 11th circuits) have allowed judges to consider uncharged or acquitted murders in handing down enhanced sentences to defendants who have been convicted of less serious crimes.



Analysis: What's Taking So Long With The Supreme Court Video Game Case?

June 17, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in Gamasutra, a magazine dedicated to the art and business of making games, about the delay in the U.S. Supreme Court's impending decision on a California law that bans the sale of violent video games to minors.  "What [the Court] says about the regulation of minors and images of violence surely could impact regulations concerning minors and images of sexuality," says Douglas A. Berman, Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. "Throw in the impact of modern technology and new forms of communication (e.g., sexting involving minors and/or Weiners), and it seems likely that some Justices may be thinking about how the Court's ruling and dicta in EMA could impact porn regulations and prosecutions."

 



A Legal Look at the Anthony Weiner Scandal

June 13, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was interviewed in a podcast on the blog Legally Easy.  Berman answered questions about the possible legal issues that may arise from the controversy surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner.



Daniel Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert in election law, said that the changes are likely to affect close elections. “Remarkably, most of the significant changes are going under the radar. A lot of voters are going to be surp

June 10, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News in an article on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case focused on overcrowded prisons in California.  "I doubt there is a real hammer, though I suppose it is possible that the court could order the specific release of specific offenders," said Doug Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and sentencing expert. "More likely is giving the state more time (if) the judges think the state is making a good-faith effort to comply."



State mulls registry for its violent felons

June 8, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Times Herald-Record about a New York bill that would create a registry for violent felony offenders. There haven't been any studies that conclusively show the impact — positive or negative — of criminal registries, said Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman, an expert in sentencing law.

Their public-relations impact is certainly positive.

"It's a relatively cost-effective way for politicians and public officials to suggest that they're getting tough," Berman said.

Berman adds the courts generally have been hands-off when it comes to the legality of registries.

"It's been about public safety rather than directed punishment," he said.



High court's Calif. ruling could lead to overhaul

May 23, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an Associated Press article about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered California to reduce its prison population to relieve overcrowding and the possibility the decision may lead some states to overhaul their tough-on-crime policies by reducing criminal sentences.  "It should provide even more impetus for other states already working on sentencing and corrections reform to understand that if they don't get our own acts in order, the federal courts will force them to do so," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and expert on sentencing law. "This is yet more of a reason why these reforms are critical to head off these kinds of dramatic showdowns in court." 



Sex Offender Arrested After Moving Out of Dumpster He Called Home

May 6, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the ABA Journal about a homeless registered sex offenders who was arrested for not properly registering his address. Ohio State University law professor Doug Berman, who mentioned the incident on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog Thursday, said the episode "spotlights some of the sad realities" of modern sex offender laws and practices.



Tennessee shared lethal injection drugs

May 5, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Tennessean story about the scarcity of lethal injection drugs. Douglas Berman, professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law said states would have likely had fewer problems, legally and politically, had they slowed down and sought out federal guidance on how to make the death penalty work without sodium thiopental. “There ought to be a willingness to say, ‘This is a new kind of problem, and we need to sort through this the proper way,’ ” he said.



Prisoner? No, Your Honor, I’d Rather Be a Diplomat

April 28, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the New York Times regarding the request of New York State Senator Vincent L. Leibell III to be sentenced to community service in a nation-building capacity in the Middle East instead of prison in relation to his public corruption charges. It is not uncommon for white-collar criminals — especially politicians — “to assert that community service is a much better use of their time and energies than sitting around in the pokey," Berman said.



Vajgrt: We're No. 1

April 28, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Rocky Mountain Collegian in an article highlighting American's not-so-great number one rankings.  “The chest-pounding about freedom and liberty that so many of our leaders do, both on the left and the right, seems inconsistent with this statistical anomaly. We live in a country conceived on the notion of liberty, but we lead the world in locking people up,” Berman said.



What’s behind the surge in right-wing prison reformers?

April 11, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted on KALW 91.7 in San Francisco about trends in prison reform.  “There are some good people that get sent to prison, and some evil people who don’t. It’s essential to the usual conservative ideology that’s tough on crime to think, ‘There are the good people that the politicians need to protect from the bad people. And the bad people go to jail.’ Going to prison and experiencing that nothing is ever that black and white plays a significant role in conservatives coming out and becoming reform advocates,” Berman said.

 



D.C. case’s disparity in sentences sheds light on federal judges’ discretion

April 3, 2011

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in a Washington Times article about disparities in the sentences of two defendants sentenced in federal court in DC for similar crimes. “There is absolutely no doubt that defendants who plead guilty get a benefit from prosecutors and the judge, but it does seem pretty dramatic here,” said Doug Berman, a sentencing analyst and law professor at Ohio State University.



Law Prof Sees Opportunity for Defense Lawyers in High Court Decision for Rehabilitated Felon

March 2, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an ABA Journal story about a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued on judges’ powers at resentencing. The story states: “The blog Sentencing Law and Policy calls the decision in Pepper v. United States ‘the biggest federal sentencing case of the term to date.’ The author, Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman, says defense lawyers are likely to cite this section of Sotomayor’s opinion dealing with judges’ ability to reject policy statements within the federal sentencing guidelines: ‘Our post-Booker decisions make clear that a district court may in appropriate cases impose a non-guidelines sentence based on a disagreement with the Commission’s views. That is particularly true where, as here, the Commission’s views rest on wholly unconvincing policy rationales not reflected in the sentencing statutes Congress enacted.’”



U.S. Supreme Court to consider Louisville man's crack-cocaine sentence

February 22, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The Courier-Journal in a story about the sentencing of crack-cocaine offenders. The story states: “Experts on federal sentencing, including Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman, who writes a blog on the subject, say Freeman's case could affect ‘several hundred’ to ‘a few thousand’ inmates who are serving long sentences for crack offenses.”



Officials brainstorm ways to reduce OH prison costs

February 18, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a WTOL.com story about ways Ohio can reduce its prison costs. The story states: “’We particularly should be worried, as I am, that when we incarcerate the wrong people it's making us less safe,’ said Douglas Berman, a law professor with The Ohio State University.”



Court: Judges can't force cooperation in clemency

February 7, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Lexington Herald Leader story about a federal appeals court rebuffing a death row inmates attempt to receive answers regarding clemency from prison administrators. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University who studies sentencing and clemency, said the outcome in Baze's case isn't a surprise. Clemency procedures generally favor the inmate and most states will make a reasonable effort at getting inmates, particularly those on death row, what they need to put together a petition, Berman said.”



Sentences for child porn stir debate

February 6, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a story about federal judges sentencing those in possession of child porn to less than sentencing guidelines. The story states: “‘There is a collective sense that the guidelines have gotten severe to the extreme, particularly when the defendant is only downloading the pictures,’ said Ohio State University law professor Doug Berman.”



Child porn caseload rising

February 5, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about a federal campaign to use increasingly tough child pornography laws that has resulted in a flood of child pornography suspects in the nation's federal courts. The story states: “‘Because the Internet has made this kind of material more readily available, it's not as obvious that someone who looks at these images will be a serious threat to do harm to a child,’ Berman said. ‘We're to a point now where it's just one click. There may be a lot of serendipity as to whether that one click gets you one picture or a thousand pictures.’”



Real-world danger of porn offenders uncertain

January 15, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Times Leader story about the danger porn offenders pose to children and the general public. The story states: “‘I don’t think anyone would deny that downloading and viewing child pornography is a valid risk factor for someone to do a contact offense. To say it is a conclusive risk factor or that it is such a risk factor that it alone justifies a severe sentence is a leap,’ Berman said. ‘What the commission needs to do is come up with some mechanism to distinguish the voyeur-only cases from the more serious offenders.’”



Guilty of Being a CFO

January 10, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a CFO.com story about a federal appeals court recently overturning a former CFO's conviction. The story states: “The decision could cause prosecutors to forgo a criminal case if their proof of intent is shaky. ‘[The judges are saying] that criminal justice perhaps ought to be considered a last resort, not a first response,’ says Douglas Berman, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.”



Law profs say politics loomed large over Nunez's commutation

January 3, 2011

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story about former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last-minute commutation of a manslaughter sentence for the former Assembly speaker's son. The story states: “’To have all of the expense, all of the uncertainty, all of the hand wringing that surrounds a high profile appeal is not cost-free,’ he said, and the governor's clemency or commutation power can ‘be the tiebreaker’ in a case that otherwise would grind on for years in the courts. ‘Some people will say you're putting the cart before the horse,’ he said, but that might ‘put too much stock in the expectation that the legal process will always resolve itself justly.’”



Family, Community Mourns Knox County Tragedy

November 19, 2010

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in a WBNS-10TV about the mourning of the three Knox County residents whose murders are being investigated with a case building against the only suspect in the slayings, Matthew Hoffman. The story states: “‘Certainly there might have been conversations that said, ‘Look, it's going to be harder for us prosecutors -- to have any sympathy for your client if it turns out he's done these things and we're spending weeks and months still searching for the bodies,’’ Berman said.”



Experts: Child rapist sentence exceeded similar cases

November 10, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was recently quoted in a Stars and Stripes story about Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Adam Smith, 27, being sentenced at court-martial to life in prison without possibility of parole for the rape of three young girls he baby-sat. The story states: “‘All of the biggest aggravating red flags in the modern concern about child exploitation and child sex offenses are present,’ said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and appellate lawyer.”



Crime Severe, Sentence Just

October 13, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was recently quoted in The Heights in a story about capital punishment. The story states: “Douglas Berman and Stephanos Bibas, both university law school professors, write, ‘…capital sentencing law and practice is suffused with emotion. Descriptively, the death decision is an emotional decision through and through.’ They cite studies showing that a significant predictor of a death sentence is whether the killer shows remorse or, and note that juries also take into account whether the murder was ‘heinous, atrocious, or cruel,’ which are all highly emotional terms.”



In Missouri, judges now calculate cost of punishment

September 18, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Seattle Times story regarding a Missouri practice of judges determining what a particular criminal punishment will cost the state of Missouri. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a law professor at The Ohio State University, said: ‘One of the flaws in the operation of our criminal-justice system is not only the failure to be attentive to cost but an arrogance that somehow you can never put a price on justice. Long missing has been a sober realization that even if we get significant benefits from incarceration, that comes at a significant cost.’”



Law School Report

September 6, 2010

Professor Doug Berman was featured in an article in the National Law Journal about professors who have made the most of social media. Berman was commended on his use of blogging techniques: “For anyone who thought law blogging was just a hobby for professors with too much time on their hands, Douglas Berman dispelled that notion in the medium's infancy. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court cited Berman's blog in U.S. v. Booker, an important precedent governing criminal defendants' constitutional rights during sentencing.”



Man Takes Razor to Throat Instead of Sentence From Judge

September 1, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article on Above The Law that discussed a Texas man who slit his throat in a courtroom after receiving a 40-year sentence for assault. The event is timely considering the amount of attention afforded to a Massachusetts prisoner, Philip Markoff, who committed suicide while awaiting trial. Berman’s blog, “Sentencing Law and Policy,” was quoted regarding Markoff’s suicide: “After Markoff offed himself, Professor Douglas Berman wrote on his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, that from a utilitarian perspective we should be happy about Markoff’s suicide.”



Justice Denied in Philip Markoff case?

August 19, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was featured in a Legal Talk Network broadcast about Philip Markoff's suicide. The broadcast discussed the legal circustances that should be considered when evaluating his prison suicide. Markoff was charged of murder. Berman said that if Markoff was guilty this could be seen as a positive event, whereas he would not look on it fondly if Markoff was innocent. He said it's a very good case to explore the rights of inmates.



What to Make of the Philip Markoff Suicide?

August 16, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog article about a prisoner charged with murder, who committed suicide while incarcerated. The article referred to Berman’s blog post about the event in which he discussed whether the event should be looked on with pleasure or frustration: “Berman’s take is a bit more equivocal. He writes: ‘Of course, if Philip Markoff truly was innocent of murder, his suicide compounds the tragedy of a wrongful accusation (and further heightens the risk that the real killer will never be sought or found). But assuming he was guilty, my first reaction here is to be pleased. By killing himself, Markoff saved a lot of time, money and energy for those who would be tasked with prosecuting and defending him. And the family of his victim would, I hope, get some measure of closure from Markoff’s death.’”



Justice Department Calls for Probe of Federal Sentencing Patterns

July 19, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article on Law.com about the call for a probe into the sentencing done by federal judges in the last four years. The Department of Justice wants the U.S. Sentencing Commission to investigate, with special attention to guidelines for fraud and child pornography crimes. Berman was quoted regarding the validity of the call for an investigation: “The department, in its report, essentially said the disparity problem is apparent enough that the commission has an obligation to look into it, said Douglas Berman of Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law. ‘I think they recognize that, with a fairly lenient-leaning commission, they sometimes won't love the outcome, but they see the benefit of having rules everybody respects.’”



Verdict on 9 justices: They were assertive

July 4, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post article about the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The article discussed the new trends that the court might follow because of the new dynamic of justices. Berman was quoted about Justice Scalia: “Douglas Berman, who follows sentencing and criminal procedure as a law professor at Ohio State University, has called Scalia ‘the federal criminal defendant's best friend.’”



Gun Activists To Challenge Local Gun Laws

July 1, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an NPR news story about the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that made the right to bear arms applicable on the local and state level. The article says that gun activists are expected to file many lawsuits in an attempt to appeal gun regulatory laws. Berman was quoted about the likelihood of this result: “Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman says efforts to repeal gun regulations will rise, and there are hundreds of laws on the books. ‘There's many that are nuanced in ways that don't completely prohibit gun rights or gun ownership, but that limit or seek to restrict,’ he says.



Gun law challenges likely after high court ruling

June 30, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press article about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that made the second amendment and the right to bear arms applicable on the local and state level. Berman was quoted about where this ruling will be difficult to delineate: “Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor, said courts might decide that in places with tough registration laws, restrictions on where guns can be carried may be less important — and vice versa. But Berman said he expects some of the hardest questions will deal with people making a case to be armed for self-defense. ‘Can a state say no guns on college campuses? That's someone's home,’ Berman said.”



Roberts led Supreme Court through assertive term

June 30, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post article about the various rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court this term. The article discusses the dynamic of the court after welcoming new justice Sonia Sotomayor. Berman was quoted about the reputation of Justice Antonin Scalia with regards to criminal procedure: “But criminal procedure cases at the court always break along the usual divide. Justice Antonin Scalia's constitutional views, for instance, often trend in favor of defendants. Douglas Berman, who follows sentencing and criminal procedure as a law professor at Ohio State University, has called Scalia ‘the federal criminal defendant's best friend.’”



Federal Prosecutors Get OK to Appeal Former Senator's Fraud Sentence

June 29, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was referenced in an article on Law.com about the sentencing of former Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Fumo. Prosecutors sought the right to appeal after they felt that a 55-month prison sentence was too lenient in Fumo’s fraud conviction. Berman commented on the implication of this case on future political corruption sentences: “Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman, an expert on sentencing issues, said last year that Fumo's case is loaded with complicated issues. Berman, who writes the blog Sentencing Law and Policy, told The Legal Intelligencer in August 2009 that strategically the government may decide to pursue the appeal because it is unhappy with specific aspects of Buckwalter's guidelines calculations and may be intent on getting those rulings overturned so that other judges in future political corruption cases don't follow them.”



U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Chicago ban in key gun-rights case

June 28, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was referenced in a Mercury News story about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McDonalds v. Chicago Monday morning. The court ruled that the constitutional right to bear arms affects local and state efforts to regulate guns. Berman gave his opinion on the fallout of this ruling: “Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor following the case closely, predicted this morning that one of the byproducts of the ruling would be challenges in state courts by defendants facing various gun-related charges. And given the split in the Supreme Court, Berman said the courts are likely to be equally divided when they address those legal challenges.”



Supreme Court strikes another blow to local gun bans

June 28, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a USA Today story about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday morning that made the constitutional right to bear arms affective on the local and state level. Berman was quoted on the possible ramifications of this ruling: “Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman predicted immediately after the ruling, ‘Now that the Supreme Court has clarified that the Second Amendment applies to the states, there are likely a significant number of state criminal defendants who will now start urging state courts to decide that the Second Amendment should block some state prosecutions based on gun possession and use.’”



Skilling Gets Boost as Supreme Court Limits Fraud Law

June 24, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek story that addresses the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in two corporate fraud convictions: Jeffrey Skilling, who was convicted for leading the Enron Corp. accounting fraud and former Hollinger International Inc. Chairman Conrad Black. The justices were unanimous in saying the honest-services law couldn’t be applied to Skilling and Black. Berman was quoted as saying: “The ruling ‘has nuance’ and should leave federal prosecutors ‘breathing a sigh of relief,’ said Douglas Berman, a professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. Even so, he said, the ruling may apply retroactively and will let people with enough money to challenge their convictions.”



Justices Limit Fraud Law

June 24, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story that addresses the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in two corporate fraud convictions: Jeffrey Skilling, who was convicted for leading the Enron Corp. accounting fraud and former Hollinger International Inc. Chairman Conrad Black. The court ruled that the “honest services” claim against corporate officials must be more clearly delineated as to where the line is drawn between criminal and lawful behavior. Berman as quoted addressing the fate of past cases of corporate fraud: “Nonetheless, the high court's rulings call into question many convictions previously won under the honest-services law. ‘I do not think anyone walks immediately, but there will be lots of complicated lower-court litigation’ over whether convictions can stand, said criminal law specialist Douglas Berman, a law professor at the Ohio State University.”



White-collar blues

June 21, 2010

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in Chicago Tribune story about the disparity between sentences involving white-collar crime throughout the country. The story refers to new guidelines issued by Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. last month that regulate charging and sentencing that address “unwarranted disparities.” The story states: “But the plea to his prosecutors for consistency goes only so far, notes Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman: ‘He's being candid, but it's not likely to reduce the disparities.’ Jawboning isn't reform.”



Judges Give Thumbs Down to Crack, Pot, Porn Mandatory Minimums

June 16, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a National Law Journal story about a judges’ survey regarding sentencing issues. The latter result reflects the judges' ‘scar tissue,’ said sentencing scholar Douglas Berman of Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law. ‘It's understandable but I think unfortunate,’ he added. ‘I could easily imagine writing a question like: 'The commission should have more authority to report particular districts or judges who seem significant outliers relative to the national trend.' But it has already been cast as: 'Do we make a blacklist of bad judges or keep this as opaque as possible?' There's a lot of in-betweens.’”



Defendants could benefit from new federal sentencing guidelines

June 14, 2010

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Philadelphia Daily News story about defendants who may benefit from new federal sentencing rules. The story states: Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes a blog, ‘Sentencing Law and Policy,’ said the proposed changes are symbolically important. He called them the ‘first set of changes’ to federal sentencing guidelines since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 made sentencing guidelines advisory and not mandatory.”



U.S. Supreme Court to hear California prison overcrowding case

June 14, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case regarding California’s overcrowded prison system. The story states: "‘It's hard to be sure what many of the justices will think,’ said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. ‘My sense is the Supreme Court is in a very unenviable position. They have to take this up with all these crosscutting currents.’”



Defiant Judge Takes On Child Pornography Law

May 21, 2010

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about judges taking stands against certain minimum sentences for people convicted of receiving child pornography. The story states: “‘What has caused concern in courts across the nation is that we have a lot of relatively law-abiding individuals sitting in the basement downloading the wrong kind of dirty pictures facing not just prison sentences but incredibly long prison sentences,’ said Douglas A. Berman, a professor at Moritz College of Law of Ohio State University, who studies sentencing issues.”



Justices Bar Life Terms for Youths Who Haven’t Killed

May 17, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story that was published in several newspapers, including this story in The New York Times, about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Graham v. Florida. The story states: “The court's ‘ruling likely will produce challenges for lawyers and lower courts to determine just whether and when other extreme prison terms are constitutionally problematic,’ said Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman.”



Justices Issue Major Eighth Amendment Ruling on Juvenile Sentencing

May 17, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a National Law Journal story regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Florida. The story states: "‘The Supreme Court today has handed down its biggest and potentially most consequential Eighth Amendment ruling for non-death penalty cases in its history,’ said Ohio State University Moritz College of Law professor Douglas Berman. ‘In addition to potentially providing new constitutional claims for many juveniles sentenced to very long prison terms for nonhomicide offenses, the ruling likely will produce challenges for lawyers and lower courts to determine just whether and when other extreme prison terms are constitutionally problematic.’”



Supreme Court bars some life terms for juveniles

May 17, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in Reuters story that was published in several newspapers regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Florida. The story states: “‘The Supreme Court today has handed down its biggest and potentially most consequential Eighth Amendment ruling for non-death penalty cases in its history,’ Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman said.”



Supreme Court restricts life without parole for juveniles

May 17, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Graham v. Florida. The story states: “‘It is indisputably the court's most important non-capital Eighth Amendment decision," said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor and criminal sentencing expert at Ohio State University. ‘It is the first highly tangible setting where the court's death penalty work has crossed over’ to another aspect of sentencing.”



New Factors to Help Judges Determine Leniency

May 1, 2010

Professor Douglas A. Berman was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal story regarding new factors that judges can use when considering defendants’ sentences. The story states: “Congress, which oversees the sentencing commission, is unlikely to block the changes before they take effect, said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. Mr. Berman said the changes announced Friday were significant because historically the vast majority of guidelines amendments by the commission have called for increases, not decreases, in sentence length.”



Federal Judges Still Finding Their Way in Post-'Booker' Sentencing Landscape

April 23, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal story about federal judges still adapting to changes stemming from the ruling in U.S. v. Booker (2005). The story states: “Douglas Berman, a law professor from Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law and the author of the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, says the Supreme Court has consistently upheld district judges' exercise of their post-Booker sentencing discretion. Downward departures tend to be minor and seldom appealed by prosecutors, he notes. The better a judge ‘can explain and justify why he's doing what he's doing, the more discretion he has,’ Berman adds.”



Crack Sentencing Bill Passes Senate, Offers Lessons in Political Compromises

March 24, 2010

Douglas Berman was quoted in RaceWire regarding the U.S. Senate passage of a bill that would reduce a gap between sentences for crack and powder cocaine. The story states: “According to Douglas Berman, a criminal law professor at Moritz Law School at Ohio State University, when the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was passed, there was a vague awareness that the laws would lead unequal impacts. ‘My sense is that crack was perceived to be a very dangerous drug that was uniquely prevalent in inner cities,’ said Berman, but added, ‘Anybody who understood that inner cities were disproportionately filled with people of color had to connect the dots that...particularly at the federal level, impact would be so dramatically racially skewed.’”



U.S. Supreme Court tosses career criminal sentence in Jacksonville case

March 15, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Florida Times-Union story about the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a Florida sentencing law. The story states: Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman said the opinion is the latest in a series of high court rulings to scale back the types of crimes prosecutors can use to enhance sentences under the Armed Career Criminal Act. … He said federal sentencing laws that are triggered by state crimes are bound to be complicated because each state has its own set of laws. ‘What's really a mess is the way Congress wrote this statute,’ Berman said. ‘The Supreme Court has come to the conclusion that this is meant for people who have a more serious criminal history.’”



Defendants Fresh From War Find Service Counts in Court

March 15, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about judges considering military service when determining criminal sentences. The story states: “‘More and more courts are noticing and asserting, in a variety of ways, that there seems to be some relevance to military service, or history of wartime service, to our country,’ said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert on sentencing.”



Racial disparities in sentencing rise after guidelines loosen

March 12, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Kansas City Star story about racial disparities in federal sentences. The story states: “Douglas A. Berman, a professor and sentencing expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, said it wasn't that simple because the study ‘doesn't provide us with a perfect why or how.’”



How Young is Too Young?

March 11, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Good Morning America story about an 11-year-old Pennsylvania boy who is being charged with murder.



Companies 'Named And Shamed' For Bad Behavior

March 7, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a National Public Radio story about companies and individuals being required to publish apologies as part of their sentences. The story states: “‘Whether we call it vengeance, whether we call it psychic satisfaction, whether we call it restitution, we are getting at the core of what we as victims can rightfully claim to be entitled to,’ says Ohio State University law professor Doug Berman.”



U.S. Supreme Court to take on battle over gun rights

February 28, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story about an upcoming case involving gun rights at the U.S. Supreme Court. The story stated: “‘The case will kick down the line the really hard questions,’ said Doug Berman, an Ohio State University law professor following the case closely. ‘We're in uncharted territory. No one is quite sure where we're going, and I'm not even sure anyone knows where we should be going.’”



Possible Madoff Effect: Triple-Digit White-Collar Prison Sentences

February 19, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog story about increasing prison sentences for white-collar criminal offenders. “There’s no rational basis for any of these numbers,” Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University told us last year. “They make us feel good because we can say, ‘Here’s the bad guy.’”



Re-sentence for Nacchio not unusual

February 2, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Denver Post story about Joe Nacchio and a ruling that allowed his prison sentence for insider trading to be shortened. The story states: “In Nacchio's case, ‘there are lots of debatable economic issues that kind of course around the sentencing,’ said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who specializes in sentencing law.”



Child Pornography, and an Issue of Restitution

February 2, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story whether or not people who possess child pornography should have to pay damages to the victims. The story states: “Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert on sentencing, said the rise in monetary damages might curb ‘a troublesome modern tendency of many legislators and judges to respond to all perceived crime problems with longer and longer terms of imprisonment.’”



Plea Rejected in Case of Hepatitis Infections

January 22, 2010

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about a judge who rejected a plea agreement of a Denver nurse accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C. The story states: “One legal expert who specializes in criminal law and sentencing, Douglas A. Berman, said judges are generally loath to throw out plea bargain agreements, partly because there is an assumption that victims have already been consulted. But Professor Berman, who teaches criminal law at the Ohio State University law school, said the Federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act passed by Congress in 2004 opened up channels that in many cases bypass prosecutors, putting new pressure on judges.”



Judges Consider New Factor at Sentencing: Military Service

December 31, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal story about whether veterans and non-veterans should be treated differently when sentenced for crimes. The story states: “Most U.S. courts don't have rules on giving veterans special consideration, says Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. But in North Carolina, if a defendant was honorably discharged from the military, judges must use that fact as a mitigating factor at sentencing. And in several states, including Tennessee and Louisiana, courts have ruled that judges are allowed to use prior military service to lessen a sentence.”



Death Sentences Dropped, but Executions Rose in ’09

December 18, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about the rising number of executions in 2009. The story stated: “Douglas A. Berman, an expert on sentencing law at Ohio State University, suggested that the rise in executions was due to last year’s relatively low number, as states grappled with the implications of a major 2008 Supreme Court decision on lethal injection.”



The Year in Capital Punishment: Sentences Down, Executions Up

December 18, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal story about the rising number of executions in 2009 despite a decreasing number of death penalty sentences imposed. The story states: “How to explain the rise? Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman, who authors the popular Sentencing Law and Policy blog, suggested that the rise in executions was due to last year’s relatively low number, as states grappled with the implications of a major 2008 Supreme Court decision on lethal injection.”



Judge suggests more sentencing options for war veterans

December 11, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Denver Post story about alternative sentencing options for military veterans. The story states: “But Douglas Berman, a professor at the Moritz School of Law at Ohio State University, said the commission is not likely to amend the federal guidelines to consider the circumstances of military veterans. ‘There have been long debates about community contributions or public service or family situations, and they have always been resistant to making across-the-board rules that would provide for discounts,’ Berman said.”



Nationwide Execution Total Rising Again This Year

December 3, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was mentioned in a Crime Report story about the rising number of executions in the United States. The story states: “Berman says it is noteworthy that we are seeing this uptick in executions during the first year of a Democratic administration in the White House.  Executions ramped up significantly during the Clinton Administration, the nation averaged more than 85 executions each year during his second term.”



New lethal injection policies put Ohio at center of legal and ethical debate over executions

November 23, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Cleveland Plain-Dealer story about Ohio's change in its procedures for carrying out executions. The story states: “‘It could be a significant turning point in the direction of the death penalty in this country,’ said Ohio State University Law School professor Douglas Berman, an expert on criminal sentencing and the death penalty. ‘It's already a turning point that Ohio is willing to try something new, but the real question is, will the courts be comfortable with Ohio's efforts? Will the better mousetrap, if you will, prove to be successful in Ohio?’”



Right and Left Join Forces on Criminal Justice

November 23, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about upcoming cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. The story states: “‘Scalia and Thomas are vanguards of an understanding by the modern right that its distrust of government extends all the way to the criminal justice system,’ said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.”



Ohio Is First to Change to One Drug in Executions

November 13, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story regarding Ohio’s decision to begin using a single drug, and not a three-drug cocktail, to conduct executions. The story states: “‘This is a victory for those who complained particularly about the three-drug protocol,’ said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. ‘However, death penalty opponents may find it even harder to complain about execution procedures if courts endorse this new approach and if Ohio is able to conduct executions without incident using this new protocol.’”



Ohio executions back on with 1-drug method

November 13, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was mentioned in an Associated Press story regarding Ohio’s decision to begin using a single drug, and not a three-drug cocktail, to conduct executions. The story states: “Other states are unlikely to make a similar switch soon, said Doug Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and death penalty expert.”



Obama ducks out of pardoning black boxer

October 25, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in London Sunday Times story about President Obama’s decision to not pardon Jack Johnson. The story states: “‘It could really be quite valuable for the chief executive to send a message, in George Bush’s words, that America is the land of the second chance,’ said Berman. ‘The use of pardons and commutations could be a ‘policy-spotlighting tool’ to encourage necessary judicial reforms.’”



North Carolinians Bridle Over Plan to Free Inmates

October 16, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about a North Carolina statute that limits life sentences to 80 years. The story states: “‘A life sentence means a life these days,’ said Douglas A. Berman, an expert on sentencing at the Ohio State University law school. ‘But back in the ’60s and ’70s, it was very much the norm that prisoners would be eligible for parole at some point during their lives.’”



Lethal Injection Draws Scrutiny in Some States

October 15, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story about the use of lethal injections as a way of executing prisoners. The story states: “As some states study how executions are carried out, experts say they likely will struggle to find a less wrenching method than lethal injections. ‘I don't think that exists. And that's the challenge,’ says Douglas Berman, a capital-punishment expert and law professor at Ohio State University. ‘It's not easy to kill someone in a way where no one is going to be upset about it.’”



Prosecutor Bill Mason says he may charge some already convicted in federal court; critics say that could slow probe

October 12, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article regarding speculations that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason might charge some people already convicted in federal court as part of the county corruption scandal. The story states: “And Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, said two different sets of prosecutors bring different interests and concerns to the same case. For instance, he said, one office may see the case's ‘biggest scoundrels getting the best deals,’ he said.”



In Aftermath of Failed Execution, Ohio Governor Orders Postponement of 2 Others

October 5, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story regarding Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s decision to postpone two executions in the state. The story states: “Douglas A. Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and death penalty expert, agreed that the appellate ruling amounted to a moratorium, which compelled the state to appeal. ‘The stakes are not just preserving this execution date but whether they can continue to administer the death penalty over the next few months,’ Professor Berman said.”



U.S. Tops in World Prison Population Ranking!

October 2, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article regarding the status of the population incarcerated in U.S. prisons. The story states: “Berman sees the statistics as, in a word, ironic. ‘The chest-pounding about freedom and liberty that so many of our leaders do, both on the left and the right seems inconsistent with this statistical anomaly,’ he says. ‘We live in a country conceived on the notion of liberty, but we lead the world in locking people up.’ “



Corporate Disputes Dominate the Docket as a New Justice Joins the Court

September 28, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in The National Law Journal regarding the docket of the upcoming term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The article states: “Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law professor Douglas Berman said the cases could produce ‘the biggest’ Eighth Amendment decision not involving the death penalty in years.”



Corporate Disputes Dominate the Docket as a New Justice Joins the Court

September 28, 2009

Professor Berman was quoted in a Yahoo Finance story about upcoming docket of the U.S. Supreme Court. The story states: “Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law professor Douglas Berman said the cases could produce ‘the biggest’ Eighth Amendment decision not involving the death penalty in years.



Supreme Court's Davis Ruling Raises New Death-Penalty Questions

August 18, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Times.com article regarding the Supreme Court's ruling of the Troy Davis murder case. The story states:  "For Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, 'the way the court 'decided' the Troy Davis case today raises a lot more questions than it answers. It also probably ensures still more litigation in the future.'"



Re-sentence for Nacchio not unusual

August 4, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Denver Post article regarding a ruling last week that could shorten Joe Nacchio's six-year prison term for insider trading. The story states: "In Nacchio's case, 'there are lots of debatable economic issues that kind of course around the sentencing,' said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who specializes in sentencing law."



Jimmy Dimora's claims in Cuyahoga County corruption investigation raise the question: When does a goodwill gesture become a bribe?

July 11, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Plain Dealer article regarding the issues of bribery laws and the corruption investigation on the Cuyahoga County goverment. The story states:  "Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor, said bribery laws are often vague, though an attempt to influence must be clear. He said that if a resident pays for a council member's dinner in which they discussed work on city parks, it is not an attempt to offer a bribe. But if the resident brings up his family construction company and the fact that the meal would be a payment to help the company get a contract for concrete at the parks, then bribery can become an issue.

'The hypervigilance makes it easier to avoid problems,' he said. 'If you're not conscientious about how blurry these issues can become, it makes it easy to head down the slope of misguided behavior.' "



Weekend Opinionator: Did Madoff Get More Than He Deserved?

July 3, 2009

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times opinion piece on the sentencing of Bernie Madoff. The story states: ‘Because there will be few other Madoffs (we all hope), I suspect that few other defendants will also get the magic number 150. But if the original Madoff got only about 15 or 20 years in this case, lots of lesser fraudsters likely would be claiming that they deserved only a few years because Madoff caused so much more harm. But now that Madoff got 150, only the prosecutors are likely to be talking about the sentencing benchmark that his case has now set.’



Two Judges Target Cocaine Penalties

June 29, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post article about the disparity in how the legal system handles sentencing for crack and cocaine offenders. The story states: “The decisions are a very big deal, especially if they start a trend," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. "The fact that judges are doing this, and doing it vocally, shows they are frustrated. And it's garnering attention and could be the catalyst for Congress to act.”



Death cases among early issues for new justice

May 30, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story about how U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor may handle upcoming death penalty cases. The story states: “‘She certainly doesn't seem to have a pro-criminal bias and, if anything, because of her history, may have a pro-state bias,’ said Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman.”



More Than One Way to Diversify the Supreme Court

May 26, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story about the demographic and religious makeup of the next U.S. Supreme Court nominee. The story stated: “Appellate courts have become ‘a quasi-academic priesthood,’ in the words of Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman, ‘from which the next pope is chosen.’”



Nominated to be elevated

May 26, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed on a Federal News Radio story about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.



Age and the Supreme Court

May 4, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Detroit Free Press column about President Obama’s upcoming appointment of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice. The story states: “But Ohio State law professor Doug Berman (a former frequent source of mine when I covered the court from 2003-07) makes several compelling arguments against a younger appointment on his blog today. … Berman's strongest point is his last. ‘just as President Roosevelt, appointing justices in the 1930s, could not foresee that the key issues that would face the court in the 1950s and 1960s would be civil rights and civil liberties, President Obama ought to realize that he can’t foresee what issues will face the court in the 2030s.’”



Justices Agree to Take Up Sentencing for Young Offenders

May 4, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story regarding a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear whether juvenile offenders should be allowed to be sentenced to life without parole. The story stated: “But Douglas A. Berman, an authority on sentencing law at Ohio State University, said the factors cited by Justice Kennedy concerning juveniles might well apply in noncapital cases. ‘The principles driving Roper,’ Professor Berman said, ‘would seem to suggest that its impact does not stop at the execution chamber.’”



Gun Rights Don't Apply In Domestic Violence Cases, Appeals Court Rules

April 14, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a CBS News blog article regarding a decision made late Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit which said that a criminal defendant may not be allowed to present a Second Amendment defense to a federal jury in Utah.  The story states:  "Douglas Berman, a professor of law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, said on Friday that the panel's decision  'shows significant antipathy toward serious consideration of Second Amendment rights.'

"'Anyone seriously committed to the Second Amendment and gun rights getting serious constitutional respect should be seriously disturbed by how willing and eager lower courts have been to accept federal prosecutors arguments that Heller is of no consequence for an array of broad and severe federal gun possession crimes,' Berman wrote. "



Death penalty economics

February 26, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a The Week story about death penalty and economics. The story states: “There’s another problem with the fiscal argument, said law professor Douglas Berman in Sentencing Law and Policy. The ‘states seriously considering death penalty repeals’ have few death row inmates and fewer executions, so they don’t actually spend that much on capital punishment. Meanwhile, states with ‘bloated,’ expensive capital punishment systems, like California, are cutting jobs instead.”



Second Amendment Absent in Supreme Court Gun Ruling

February 24, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Legal Times story about a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the right to bear arms. The story states: “But, as Ohio State University law professor Doug Berman points out on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog, neither Heller nor the Second Amendment played a role in Hayes. ‘The Second Amendment and Heller do not even get mentioned by the dissenters, even though the majority's ruling would seem to provide a green light to jurisdictions looking for pretty easy ways to functionally work around the rights supposedly championed in Heller.’”



Cuyahoga County investigation continues, 200 days after flashy raids

February 17, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was mentioned in a Cleveland Plain Dealer story about the federal investigation of a Cuyahoga County, Ohio, commissioner. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University, said few people ever defend prosecutors who rush to indictment in high-profile cases. He cited, for example, the Duke University lacrosse case.”



Illness Could Keep Barry Out of Jail, Experts Say

February 12, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story about a Washington, D.C., councilman accused of not filing his 2007 tax return. The story stated: “If Robinson determines that Barry is too sick for confinement, she could let his three-year probation run out, extend it or sentence him to home detention, said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who specializes in sentencing issues. ‘She has lots of flexibility in this,’ Berman said.”



Defining ‘Cruel and Unusual’ When Offender Is 13

February 2, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about a Florida man who is serving a life sentence for a rape conviction that stemmed from a crime he committed while he was 13 years old. “Douglas A. Berman, an authority on sentencing law at Ohio State, said it was time for the Supreme Court and the legal system to widen its relentless focus on capital cases and to look at other severe sentences as well. Cases involving the death penalty receive careful review at multiple levels, he said. Life sentences can receive almost none.”



Walsh: Hatch is picky about his producers

January 21, 2009

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Salt Lake Tribune column about the Senator Orrin Hatch’s help to one music producer and lack of help to another. The story states: “‘John Forte had more prominent supporters,’ says Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor who filed the petition for clemency. ‘That's the story of Carly Simon and Orrin Hatch.’”



On Clemency Fast Track, via the Oval Office

December 31, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about George W. Bush’s pardons. The story states: “But Douglas Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University and a clemency consultant, said ‘there's no doubt’ that Maiss received fast-track treatment.”



Coal for Christmas: Brooklyn man's pardon revoked

December 24, 2008

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story about President Bush reversing a previously made decision to pardon a Brooklyn man. The story states: “Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and a close follower of presidential clemency decisions, said the White House decision strikes him as unprecedented, but he said it's not inconceivable that it had happened in the past. ‘It's, at best, embarrassing. At worst, it's an extraordinary example of this White House's ability to bollix up one bit of presidential authority that he clearly has,’ Berman said.”



Ex-WorldCom chief Ebbers seeks clemency from Bush

December 3, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Reuters story about the former WorldCom chief executive who is seeking clemency from President Bush. The story states: “‘If you think the president is going to be attentive to political winds, it's hard to imagine he would burnish his legacy by granting some indisputably high-profile and therefore controversial pardons to white-collar defendants,’ he said.”



A.I.G. Fraud Scheme Cost Investors $544 Million, Judge Finds

November 4, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about the A.I.G. fraud scheme. The story states: “‘We’re looking at a suggested guideline range of at least decades’ of prison time for each defendant, he said. ‘There is a separate question of whether the judge will consider it necessary and appropriate to impose a prison sentence that is so long, particularly because these are first-time offenders.’”



McCain and Palin Say Stevens Should Resign

October 29, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story about the call for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to resign. The story states: “‘The jury came back and concluded beyond reasonable doubt that he was not telling the truth,’ Berman said. ‘That works against him.’”



Making Punishments Fit the Most Offensive Crimes

October 23, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story about how rising minimum sentences for some crimes have caused federal judges around the country to begin speaking out. The story states: “The crack-cocaine epidemic of the mid-1980s led Congress to pass much tougher sentencing laws for possession of crack, dwarfing the sentences for possession of the cocaine powder from which crack is derived, says Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes an influential sentencing blog.”



Court denies appeal of judge's sentencing goof

October 6, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story that ran in the Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune about the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a man mistakenly sentenced to five years in prison. The story stated: “Attorney Douglas Berman of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law in Columbus said Monday that defense attorneys are expected to argue Lett initially had ineffective legal representation.



In the New Term, High Stakes for the High Court

September 24, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a National Law Journal story about the upcoming Supreme Court session. Berman is quoted as saying: "This group of justices, I think, have a feel for their place in the three-branch conversation," he said. "Given that the other two branches are in transition with the upcoming election, they may say, 'Let's keep a lower profile and clean up some of these circuit splits.' "



Opponents of Tough Federal Sentencing Rules Take Up Heller for Help

September 23, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The AmLaw Daily regarding a case that involves a man sentenced to 55 years in prison because he carried a gun while selling drugs to an informant. "Most people think I'm crazy at first," says Berman, who writes the popular blog Sentencing Law and Policy. "I'm fighting people on the left who think this guy's a bad person just because he touched a gun, and I'm fighting people on the right who like guns but don't like people like (Angelos) with guns."



Two Punishments Suggest Stiff Penalty for Donaghy

July 25, 2008

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in an New York Times story about the upcoming sentencing of a National Basketball Association referee. “Douglas Berman, a sentencing expert and professor of law at Ohio State University, said that there seemed to be little doubt about how Amon would approach Donaghy's sentencing. ‘Her sentencing of the co-defendants here, either expressly or implicitly, is shaped by how she views the overall seriousness of the offense,’ he said, ‘and the fact that she is mouthing off about how serious she thinks the crime is shows that she is likely to bring the hammer down on Donaghy.’”



Guns Ruling Spawns Challenges by Felons

July 18, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story about the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows residents to keep loaded handguns in their home so long as they will be used for self defense. Felons are now arguing that they too should be allowed to do the same. "Do you think Scooter Libby should have a gun?" asked a law professor at Ohio State University, Douglas Berman, who says the ruling will complicate the work of the courts, prosecutors, and police.



Local lawsuit tests high court's ruling that lifts D.C. gun ban

July 13, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story about a lawsuit filed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding handguns. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, runs the blog ‘Sentencing Law and Policy.’ He believes that if you take the right of self-defense in the home established by the Supreme Court at face value, then the felon-in-possession law seems suspect. ‘Courts are going to have to sort through issues that no one gave serious thought to,’ he said. ‘If we think this is an important right, it deserves constitutional treatment on par with other rights.’”



A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue

July 11, 2008

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in a New York Times story regarding Senator John McCain’s eligibility to run for president. The story states: “Daniel P. Tokaji, an election law expert at Ohio State University, agreed. ‘It is awfully unlikely that a federal court would say that an individual voter has standing,’ he said. ‘It is questionable whether anyone would have standing to raise that claim. You’d have to think a federal court would look for every possible way to avoid deciding the issue.’”



A $600 drug deal, 40 years in prison

June 29, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Times story about a man convicted of a drug deal who Washington prosecutors are trying to keep in jail for 40 years. "The rules encourage prosecutors to lack humility," said Douglas Berman, an expert on criminal sentencing and a law professor at Ohio State University. "An acquittal should be a humbling experience. My sense is they sometimes view acquittal as an annoyance they have to work around."



Supreme Court rulings won't end lawsuits

June 28, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story about the Supreme Court’s recent rulings regarding the death penalty. "This presents not just an opportunity, but an obligation to develop arguments with evidence about less-than-perfect protocols," said Douglas Berman, a law professor and death penalty expert at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. "And those states inclined to tweak their protocols may be setting themselves up for further litigation by people who will say 'Hey, they changed their protocols so that must mean there's something wrong with them.'"



Supreme Court Decision May Permit Felons To Own Guns

June 27, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the New York Sun story following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Washington, D.C.’s, handgun ban was unconstitutional. "The label felon is so broad and so oppressive that maybe it makes a useful shorthand when we assume guns are bad," a law professor at Ohio State who has written on this issue on his influential legal blog, Douglas Berman, said. "But essentially Heller says the Framers thought guns were good and that guns are good in part to protect a basic civil right of self- defense."



Unbowed, politicians vow to execute child rapists

June 26, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that found that a death sentence for child rapists was unconstitutional. The story states: “According to Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, the justices' ruling appears ironclad. ‘In the absence of death, the death penalty is off the table,’ he said. The court, he said, ‘could have left open the possibility of revamping child rape laws, by age for example, but it did not.’”



Cracking Down on Courtroom Tears

June 24, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a TIME story about a move to ban attorneys from using emotional pleas to spare their clients in court. The story states: “The Ohio case reflects a long-standing uncertainty about the role of emotion in the application of the law, according to Doug Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and criminal-sentencing expert. He says that Phillabaum's motion is ‘part of a perhaps misguided attempt to suggest that the law is all rational and not based on emotion.’”



O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court

June 10, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a USA Today story about the legacy of retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. The story states: “Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman says her distinct voice in that matter and on other criminal-law disputes has been lost. ‘O'Connor was concerned about giving clear guidance to state systems,’ Berman says. Justice Alito, who was a federal prosecutor and appellate judge, ‘votes in some of the same ways she did, but he is very much driven by his federal background and appreciation for federal prosecutors,’ Berman says. ‘O'Connor's absence turns the state story into background noise.’”



High Court Deals Government Three Losses on Clement's Last Day as SG

June 3, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a National Law Journal story about Paul Clement’s last day as solicitor general, and the Supreme Court rulings that preceded his farewell. "Their commitment to legal and structural principles trump any anti-defendant instincts that some pundits assume they have," Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman wrote on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog. "Anyone inclined to make quick or broad assertions about jurisprudential and political trends in the Roberts Court needs to take a close look at all the unpredictable stuff going on throughout the Court's criminal docket."



Examining Mel Weiss’ Life in Letters

May 28, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog about Mel Weiss’ sentence after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy. The entry stated: “Reading through all these, we were of two minds. One was that Mel Weiss really does sound like a pretty good guy. The other: Is this going to have a whit of difference on his sentence? It might, says Douglas Berman, the author of the Sentencing Law & Policy blog. ‘It’s like chicken soup,’ says Berman. ‘You don’t know if it’ll help, but it probably can’t hurt.’”



Elite Athletes Fill Prosecution’s Witness List in Trial of Track Coach

May 19, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about a high-profile track coach standing trial on federal charges of lying to a federal agent. The story states: “Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and a federal sentencing expert who is not involved in the case, said the evidence might appear strong, but some defendants figure they can receive a similar sentence with a conviction as they can with a plea bargain. ‘I could see somebody thinking, Hey, why not roll the dice?’ Berman said Friday. ‘They could put the system on trial, would be the attitude.’”



Trial tactic decried

May 16, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Baltimore Sun story about an upcoming federal sentencing. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, said that at the least, judges should be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt when considering ‘bigticket’ accusations. The federal public defender's office has called for the use at sentencing of acquitted and uncharged conduct to be abolished or strictly reined in.”



Court rules deal violated BP blast victims' rights

May 8, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the Houston Chronicle. The story concerned a federal appeals court ruling that victims of a 2005 BP explosion had their rights violated by federal prosecutors and a judge. The story states: “Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes a sentencing blog, said victims can be problems for prosecutors. ‘The dirty little secret is that prosecutors are happy to take advantage of victims when it serves their relatively parochial interest,’ Berman said. ‘But they can also create a lot of headaches for prosecutors.’”



A White-Collar Sentence of 330 Years

May 7, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in U.S. News & World Report in a story regarding a man sentenced to 330 years in prison for a white-collar crime. "When I first saw the headline, I said, 'Is that right—years? They must mean months,' " says Douglas Berman, a sentencing expert and law professor at Ohio State University. Berman, who has written about the sentence on his blog, calls it the longest he has seen since the Supreme Court ruled that federal sentencing guidelines were advisory—rather than mandatory—in 2005.



Clemens Acknowledges Mistakes in Personal Life

May 6, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about Roger Clemens admitting that he has made mistakes in his personal life. Berman comments on how the news could affect a defamation lawsuit Clemens has filed against his former trainer. The story states: “Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, said in a telephone interview, ‘There is likely to be a lot of digging into the girlfriends and anything else the defense can get its hands on in an effort to show Clemens’s character and image were not really as great as he claimed in the suit.’”



After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions

May 3, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an New York Times story about executions in the United States restarting following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on one form of lethal injection. "The Supreme Court essentially blessed their way of doing things," said Douglas Berman, a professor of law and a sentencing expert at Ohio State University. "So in some sense, they're back from vacation and ready to go to work."



Ohio less swift on scheduling execution dates

April 29, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story that was printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Zanesville Times Recorder about Ohio restarting executions after a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The story states: “The speed at which Ohio's death-penalty cases move forward depends on how quickly and forcefully Ohio officials respond, said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.”



Stevens new foe of death penalty

April 17, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Chicago Tribune story about a Supreme Court decision that ruled a form of lethal injection constitutional. The story states: “No prisoner has been executed in the United States since Michael Richard was put to death by lethal injection in Texas last September. But now ‘the timeout is over,’ said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert on sentencing issues.”

Berman was also quoted in a similar Associated Press story that was printed in several Ohio newspapers.



Va. Executions Are Put on Hold

April 2, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story about Virginia putting its executions on hold. Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine postponed all executions until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling on the use of lethal injections. The story stated: “But Douglas A. Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University, said Kaine's action did not go far enough. ‘If he wanted to be really bold, he could say, 'I am putting a moratorium on all executions for all of 2008,’’ Berman said, ‘because even after the Supreme Court rules, we are going to have to take some time to figure out what it all means.’”



Judges can still punish acquitted defendants

March 31, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the Los Angeles Times in a story about a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The court refused to hear a case that questioned justices’ ability to punish suspects for some crimes even after a jury has acquitted them. "This is very disappointing," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University professor who is an expert on sentencing. "They have dodged this for now, but eventually the Supreme Court will have to grapple with this again."



Justice's deals draw scrutiny

February 29, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the Houston Chronicle story about two Houston attorneys who began researching how the Justice Department “lets corporations accused of wrongdoing off the criminal hook.” The story states: “Doug Berman, a professor at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University who writes on federal sentencing, said ‘it's sad nobody was keeping track until some eggheads in Houston did.’ ‘We have a sentencing commission that tracks every sentence on drug cases and sex offender cases, yet when it comes to the Justice Department giving a break to corporations, nobody keeps track of this stuff,’ Berman said. ‘The powers that be don't want too much out about whether corporations are getting too many breaks.’”



Finding 11-Day Sentence Not Too Little but Too Late

February 12, 2008

Professor Douglas Berman and one of his former students, Matthew Sinor, were featured in a New York Times story regarding the sentencing of an Alabama man. Professor Berman is expected to petition the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the case.



Why the death penalty is on hold in U.S.

January 29, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a story written by the Canwest News Service in Canada about the U.S. Supreme Court’s case involving lethal injections. "States need to be confident and certain in the lawfulness of whatever execution method they are using before they go forward again," says Douglas Berman, a professor at Ohio State University who specializes in death penalty law. "I think this is an opportunity in a practical sense for everyone to take a breath and take stock . . . and come to some broader judgments about the death penalty."



Ex-NFL Player Pleads Guilty in Balco Case

January 19, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about Dana Stubblefield, a former defensive lineman in the NFL, pleading guilty to charges that he made false statements to federal officials about his use of performance enhancing drugs. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a federal sentencing expert and professor at the Ohio State University Law School, said Stubblefield would probably face six months in prison.”



Governor commutes death row inmate's sentence to life in prison

January 10, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story that was published in the Akron Beacon Journal and Manfield News Journal. The story was about Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s decision to commute the death sentence of a man convicted of murdering an Ohio postmistress. "I don't think any of the current administration or any of the folks in the House or Senate at the state level see any personal, political or philosophical value in having a big debate over the status of the death penalty in Ohio," Berman said.



Top court takes first look at issue of lethal injection

January 6, 2008

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News in a story previewing the Supreme Court’s arguments over the use of lethal injections in performing executions. "Avoiding true clarity may be the only way they get a majority opinion," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. "I think there will be a 'clearish' standard for lower courts to apply, but that doesn't make things easy. The devil will still be in the details."



Supreme Court Asked to Set a Standard for Lethal Injection

December 21, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Law.com story regarding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the use of lethal injection. "This is a setting in which states progressively moved through history to more and more humane execution methods," said sentencing scholar Douglas Berman of Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law. "This one seemed 'more perfect,' but now they're being told, 'Hey, we're worried you're not as perfect as you could be.' There is a genuine concern that demanding a heightened perfection is tantamount to bringing the system down all together."



Let judges judge

December 15, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Toledo Blade editorial supporting a Supreme Court decision that gives more authority to federal judges in determining sentences. The editorial reads: “According to Ohio State University law professor Douglas A. Berman, an expert on federal sentencing guidelines, the decisions tell the circuit courts not to tamper with sentences unless the ones imposed by judges are completely ‘out of whack.’”



Justices Restore Judges’ Control Over Sentencing

December 11, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in several newspapers regarding U.S. Supreme Court rulings in two sentencing cases. Stories where we was mentioned were published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun. He also was mentioned in an Associated Press story. In the New York Times, Berman was quoted as saying the decision was a “stinging rebuke of circuit court micromanagement of district court discretion.”



Judges use leeway in Black, Vick cases

December 11, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the Chicago Tribune regarding a connection between the sentencing of Michael Vick and two Supreme Court rulings. Vick, a former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, pleaded guilty to charges in August that he was bankrolling and operating a dog-fighting ring. The story states: Overall, judges who deviate from the guidelines have proven 10 times more likely to impose lighter punishment than called for in the rules, which are ‘pretty darn harsh’ and emphasize ‘aggravating factors’ over mitigating ones, Berman said. ‘We've had a significant shift, though not nearly as much as most defendants would want,’ he said.



2 Face MN's Toughest Sentence For Sex Crimes

December 6, 2007

Ohio State Law Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story regarding two Minnesota men who may be sentenced to life in prison for sex crimes. "We see it pretty commonly nationwide -- lots of attention, lots of chest pounding and proud rhetoric from the politicians, `We're trying to keep you safe,' but a much more complicated story as these laws go into effect," said Douglas Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University.



Clemency bids backing up for Bush

November 22, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story regarding the growing number of requests for pardons and commutations. The rise has resulted in the largest and most persistent backlog of cases in recent history, according the story. "This is not just a call for Bush to get with the holiday spirit," said Douglas A. Berman, a sentencing expert and professor at Ohio State law school. "It may also be a call for a new attorney general to recognize that his job . . . is also to be attentive to the more common injustices that, sadly, we can get numb to."



Being Fair to Crack Dealers

November 9, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in Time magazine in a story about sentencing discrepancies for those people convicted of dealing crack cocaine and those dealing cocaine. The story reads: “But according to Douglas Berman, a professor and sentencing expert at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, prosecutors have an extraordinary amount of discretion in deciding whether a case gets tried in state or federal court. ‘Ironically,’ he says, ‘the more lenient a state is on these issues, the more likely the local federal prosecutor will say, 'Well, I have to take these cases to really bring the hammer down.’’”



Rules Lower Prison Terms in Sentences for Crack

November 2, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story about the Federal Sentencing Commission lowering the sentencing guidelines for crack cocain offenders. “Some legal observers said the guideline changes were a way of shoring up the commission’s credibility in the wake of a 2005 Supreme Court case that allowed federal judges, many of whom thought the guidelines were too harsh, to apply lower sentences in some crack cocaine sentences. ‘That created a kind of instability in the overall sentencing guidelines,’ said Douglas A. Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. ‘I think the commission recognized that the long-term health of all of its guidelines depends on its ability to get judicial adherence to their guidelines.’



Delays could hearten death penalty foes

October 20, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an Associated Press story that was published by the USA Today and several other newspapers. The story discussed the possibility of executions being stopped forever because many states have delayed executions while the Supreme Court discusses the use of lethal injections. "The abolitionists will say if we have no executions for six months to a year, and the universe is not imploding and murder rates are not going through the roof ... it becomes easier to say, 'Why do we even need the death penalty, let's just get rid of it,"' Berman said.



Deciphering the State of the Death Penalty

October 19, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story regarding whether the Supreme Court has essentially placed a moratorium on executions until it rules on a pending case. The story states: “And Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who has followed the issue closely, proclaimed ‘moratorium mojo’ Thursday morning on his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy.”



Supreme Court Halts Va. Inmate's Execution

October 18, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Washington Post story regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to delay a Virginia execution until after it rules on the use of lethal injection. "I think this is a de facto moratorium," said Douglas A. Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University's law school. Since almost all executions are carried out by lethal injection, he said a halt "would mean the most profound hiatus in the operation of the death penalty in at least two decades."



A pivotal review for death penalty

October 14, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story regarding the Supreme Court’s review of the use of lethal injections as a form of execution. “The Supreme Court realizes it is writing the map," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor whose criminal justice blog is widely read on subjects such as lethal injection. "No matter what they do, they can't make it worse."



Newton Considering Sex-Offender Ban

October 7, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Times story regarding a New Jersey town that is considering prohibiting high-risk sex offenders from living anywhere within it. “Creating residency exclusion zones can create a false sense of security, said Douglas A. Berman, a professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. He added that barring sex offenders from living in a town does not stop them from traveling through it.”



Feature: Supreme Court Weighs Arguments on Limits of Judicial Discretion in Sentencing

October 5, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the Drug War Chronicle regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming case involving sentencing guidelines in drug cases. "Everyone is struggling" with the federal sentencing conundrum, said Doug Berman, professor of law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and author of the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. "Most prominently, they are trying to figure out what to make of this opaque standard of reasonableness," he said.



Wyatt's age, health may bring him leniency

October 3, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Houston Chronicle story regarding the sentencing of Oscar Wyatt, who pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a $200,000 payment made to the former Iraqi regime in 2001 through the United Nations oil-for-food program. The story states: “Both sides should have plenty of ammunition to make their cases for or against a longer sentence, said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who specializes in sentencing issues. The reams of documents the government produced during the trial and the gravity of the allegations could be revisited by prosecutors as they make their case first to pretrial services, the government agency that makes sentencing recommendations, and then to the judge himself. ‘This is where the prosecutors need to decide how aggressive they want to be,’ Berman said.”



Disparity Related to Crime History of Crack

October 2, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered program about the disparity in sentencing minimums between crack and powdered cocaine. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter this term. “The practical effect (of the disparity) has been much longer sentences for low-level crack offenders,” he said. That has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans.”



Revisiting the Case of a Sentencing Double Standard

September 29, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in U.S News and World Report regarding a U.S. Supreme Court case that involves disparities in sentences for crimes involving crack and powder cocaine. "It could be a very dramatic moment in the 25 years of debate," says Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.



Irving killer's reprieve may slow executions nationwide

September 29, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The Dallas Morning News in a story about what the Supreme Court decision to hear a case on death penalties could mean for executions across the country. The story states: “Douglas Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University's law school, called it a ‘molasses moment in the overall operation of the death penalty’ because it will slow, but not stop, the death machinery.



Texas Planning New Execution Despite Ruling

September 29, 2007

Professor Douglas A Berman was quoted on the front page of The New York Times in a story about states delaying executions until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on the use of legal injections. “There is a momentum quality to this,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who has a blog, Sentencing Law and Policy. “Not only the Supreme Court granting the stay, but also the Alabama governor doing a reprieve that is likely to lead to other states with executions on the horizon waiting to see what the Supreme Court does. I’ll be surprised if many, and arguably if any states other than Texas, go through with executions this year.”



Executions Set Despite Ky. Case Review

September 27, 2007

An Associated Press story that quotes Professor Douglas Berman was picked up by several major newspapers across the country. The story was a follow story to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear a case regarding the use of lethal injection as a manner of executing someone. He was quoted in The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Seattle Times. He also was quoted in a Houston Chronicle story. "Doug Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University's law school, said he expects some state courts to stop executions while awaiting the outcome of the Kentucky case. If neither the Texas execution nor the one set for today in Alabama is stopped, he said, 'It will be a pretty strong statement that it's business as usual.'"



Justices to Rule on Lethal Injections

September 26, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was featured on NBC Nightly News, in The New York Times, and in several newspapers regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case on the use of lethal injection in executions. The court is expected to determine whether the use of lethal injections is cruel and unusual punishment. “This is huge news, which could (and probably should) lead to a de facto moratorium on all lethal-injection executions nationwide until the Supreme Court issues a ruling,” Berman was quoted as saying on nytimes.com. He also was quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC News, the New York Sun, and the Lexington Herald Leader.
Click here to watch the NBC Nightly News video.



Animal Rights Groups Argue For More Jail Time for Vick

September 13, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The New York Times regarding Michael Vick’s future sentence. The judge deciding Vick’s punishment allowed a third party to intervene. That party, a consortium of animal rights groups, will argue that Vick should be sentenced to 57 months in jail. “The filing creates an atmosphere in which the defense may be forced to respond to the groups’ claims, and in which the probation office will have to take notice,” said Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law at the Ohio State University and an expert on sentencing guidelines. He added: “It could change the dimension a lot. If the probation office says we know they agreed to 12 to 18, but we are convinced by this brief, the office may argue for 18 to 24 months. This could have a ripple effect.”



Black wants to settle lawsuit to cut jail time

September 11, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the Toronto Star regarding Conrad Black, the former chairman of Hollinger International Inc., trying to settle a civil lawsuit filed against him in hopes of reducing his criminal sentence. Ohio State University law professor Doug Berman, an expert in sentencing issues, said settling the Hollinger lawsuit would be good for Black "after he went on with his Don Quixote-like railing against the process." Berman said it's also possible that prosecutors might be less inclined to pursue a lengthy sentence against Black and others if they settle the civil claims. "If you put a few drinks into the prosecutors they'd probably tell you they don't think he deserves 20 or 30 years but they have to come out guns blazing just to try and make sure he doesn't get a walk."



Life Sentence Urged in Hamas Funding Case

September 10, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a New York Sun story regarding possible sentences for a Palestinian Arab activist found guilty of refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the activities of a terrorist group, Hamas. "If you can throw in the terrorism enhancement, it acts as a nuclear bomb, for lack of a better word, in the sentencing guidelines," a law professor who specializes in sentencing issues, Douglas Berman of Ohio State University, said.



New U.S. Attorney General may decide fate of suspects in Escobedo slayings

September 3, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a newspaper story published on TCPalm.com about the local affects of the new U.S. Attorney General. Berman said in the story, which was published by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers along Florida’s east coast, that said until the new attorney general is named it’s unclear how the death penalty will be applied, specifically in the case of a family of four killed on Florida’s Turnpike last year in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The story says: “Who is picked for the office will have a huge impact on how often and in what circumstances the federal government seeks death, such as in the Escobedo case. It also will determine if executions are a main issue or are put on the back burner, Berman said.”



After plea, implications of Vick's guilt remain unclear

August 25, 2007

Professor Doug Berman was quoted on NBCSports.com in a story about Michael Vick’s expected plea deal. "In particular," said Doug Berman, an Ohio State law professor and expert on the sentencing rules in federal court who has taken a keen interest in the Vick case, "this is what's so fascinating. In the sentencing dimension alone, you can make lots and lots or arguments in every direction -- who Vick is, the nature of the crime, the collateral inquiries and interests of the NFL. There are all these moving parts. Lots of people have lots of interests in trying to predict what's going to happen."



Two More Plea Deals Put Pressure on Vick

August 18, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The New York Times regarding federal dog-fighting charges pending against Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. Two more of Vick’s co-defendants pleaded guilty to similar charges. “Even with a plea agreement, Vick most likely would face the harshest sentence of the four because of his role as the financier of the enterprise, Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law at Ohio State University, said Friday. ‘The sentencing guidelines the judge will consider as part of the sentencing provide for increasing the defendants’ sentence if he was an organizer and leader of the criminal activity,’ Berman said. ‘The defendants have laid out that Vick funded the enterprise, and that will hurt Vick because the guidelines expressly encourage enhancing the sentence of those who had leadership roles in the offense.’”



Two Plead Guilty in Dogfighting Case Tied to Vick

August 17, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was mentioned in The New York Times in a story regarding the federal charges filed against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Two of Vick’s co-defendants pleaded guilty to the charges. The story stated: “According to Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law at Ohio State University who writes the blog Sentencing Law and Policy, the sentencing guidelines for all the individuals involved are ‘un-chartered’ territory because dog fighting just became a federal felony in May.”



Trouble followed three of Clinton’s ‘midnight pardons’

August 9, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a story in The Hill regarding the at least three people pardoned by President Clinton who have once again had run-ins with the government. Berman said that it was not surprising that these people again found themselves in legal trouble. “You could pick 500 of the sweetest human beings on the planet, keep a close eye on them long enough, and a percentage of them are going to do something bad,” Berman said. “Tigers don’t tend to change their stripes all that much.”



What's in inmates' future?

August 8, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the The Oklahoman in a story about overcrowding in prisons across the country. Berman attended the two-day conference in Oklahoma City dedicated to the topic. “The present technology has gotten outdated,” he said. “Prisons have become warehouses instead of a place where we can do anything progressive.”



House seeks to free border agents

July 28, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Houston Chronicle story regarding whether President Bush should grant clemency to two Border Patrol agents imprisoned for shooting a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler and hiding evidence. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an amendment designed to free the two men by prohibiting the use of federal funds to incarcerate them. "It is an effort for the legislative [branch] in a sense to check and balance the work of the executive branch," Berman said. "As one who knows that prosecutors can often overreach ... I tend to believe in the power of other branches to check that, not just in general but in specific cases."



Double Standard

July 16, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle story regarding President Bush’s decision to eliminate Lewis "Scooter'' Libby’s prison sentence. "To have the attorney general seek to tie judges' hands to force them to follow the strictures of the guidelines ... and then to have the president come along and say the sentence imposed by Judge Walton was excessive was jarring, to say the least, and hypocritical, to say the most," Berman said.



'Gloves are off' for Black

July 16, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a Toronto Star story about the possible sentence for Conrad Black. The story read: “‘It's like extraordinary alchemy,’ said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor. In an odd twist, Black could be penalized for the latter under the most recent U.S. sentencing guidelines even though he was neither charged nor convicted of a securities violation, said Berman, an expert on sentencing issues.”



Bush Commutes Libby's Prison Sentence

July 3, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the Washington Post and several other newspapers after President Bush commuted the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff. Libby was expected to spend 2 ½ years in prison for lying to federal investigators. Berman, an expert on criminal sentencing, said Bush’s message amounted to “My friend Scooter shouldn’t have to serve 30 months in prison because I don’t want him to.”
Berman also was quoted in July 4 story in The New York Times. On the same day, he also was quoted in stories in the New York Sun and Los Angeles Times.



Justices Support Guidelines for Sentencing

June 22, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and other publications regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Rita v. United States. The decision means that federal sentences, if within sentencing guidelines, may now be deemed reasonable, making it harder for defendants to challenge them. Those defendants handed sentences within the sentencing guidelines “are going to have an awfully hard time getting that sentence disrupted on appeal,” Berman told the Associated Press.



Bush likely hesitant to issue Libby a pardon

June 15, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman opined in the Austin American Statesman on the possibility of President Bush pardoning Scooter Libby. At Ohio State University, law professor and pardons expert Douglas Berman said his instinct is that Bush would not intervene to help Libby. "He hasn't pardoned very many people, and those he has have been very safe pardons, situations where persons long ago served out their sentences," Berman said.



Justice Dept. wants stricter sentencing

June 14, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in the Miami Herald, LA Times, Salt Lake Tribune and CBS News on the U.S. Department of Justice's push for stricter sentencing in criminal cases. The DOJ's propose would essentially mandate prison time for all crimes. "I don't think they in a million years think it's going to pass anytime soon," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University sentencing expert. "But they've gotten more extra mileage out of threatening this, framing the debate of sentencing reform. Of course this is politics."



'Mistake' Changes Longtime GI's Life

June 12, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in Forbes and the San Diego Union Tribune regarding the case of a solider who got into trouble during a trying time between enlistments, but who had reenlisted and was back on track. "If ever there's a poster child for someone who can rehabilitate himself, this is it," Berman would say. "He's got his life on a better path."



Man's death has 'far-reaching effect'

June 7, 2007

In the St. Louis DispatchProfessor Berman discusses the implications of Mario Claiborne's shooting death on his pending U.S. Supreme Court case. The court could swap in the Beal case, announcing its decision as soon as this afternoon. Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and sentencing expert, said the court also could select a similar appeal or include the bulk of its opinion from Claiborne into a companion case that also deals with sentencing issues. Berman said he hesitates to suggest that Claiborne might not have been where he was on the night of May 29 had his case been decided sooner, but added, "If any of this moved quicker, we would have had a ruling before Claiborne died."



2-year sentence for Libby; talk turns to pardon

June 6, 2007

In the Seattle Times, and various other media outlets, sentencing expert Douglas Berman discusses Scooter Libby's sentence for obstructing a federal investigation. "The judge is sending a signal: 'If you think this is a pardon case, do it now. I don't think it is appropriate to let this be strung out indefinitely,' " said Douglas Berman, a sentencing expert at Ohio State University law school. "The legal and political issues get ratcheted up extraordinarily" if Walton orders Libby to jail next week, Berman said.



Sentencing Panel Changes Crack Recommendation

May 15, 2007

Professor Doug Berman was a guest on National Public Radio's All Things Considered to discuss the federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine convictions.



Scooter Libby's Fate Hinges Upon Several Factors

May 10, 2007

Sentencing Expert Doug Berman discusses the Scooter Libby case in U.S. News and World Report.. "His lawyers necessarily are hamstrung in their ability to contextualize the offense, given that they have asserted innocence from the get-go," says Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor.



Roberts Pans Texas Death Penalty Opinion

April 27, 2007

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in Forbes Magazine regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Smith v. Texas and Abdul-Kabir/Brewer v. Quarterman. Professor Berman was also interviewed about these cases by the Associated Press and more than 40 media outlets, including the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Newsday, ran the AP article.



Justices to eye Texas death case

April 16, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this story from the San Antonio Express-News on a Texas case involving whether a schizophrenic death row inmate Scott Panetti must be spared because, as the Supreme Court said previously, it's cruel and unconstitutional to execute the insane. Ultimately, any ruling on the execution of a mentally ill inmate who jabbers about satanic persecution will call on the court to conduct a gut check, said Berman. "At some point, it's just, 'Wow, this goes too far' or 'It doesn't go too far,'" said Berman. "It strikes me that those cases tend to be the most revealing."



Man Convicted in Incest Case Plans Appeal to Supreme Court

March 25, 2007

In this article from The New York Times on a man convicted of having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter who is seeking to challenge Ohio's incest law through an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Professor Douglas A. Berman said the rape accusation might keep the case off the Supreme Court's docket. He predicted that the court would wait to review the constitutionality of the Ohio law for a more clear-cut case. "When the state of Ohio goes and tries to prosecute the 70-year-old for sleeping with his 50-year-old stepdaughter, we'll worry about this when that happens."



Al-Arian Asks Supreme Court To Overturn His Sentence

March 23, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this story from The New York Sun on Sami Al-Arian, a Florida college professor who pleaded guilty to a charge of providing services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who is asking the Supreme Court to overturn his 57-month prison sentence. "I believe strongly that the court should and probably will before the end of the decade return to the issue of acquitted conduct," Berman said. However, the professor said Al-Arian's situation doesn't present the question in a straightforward way. "I think this is a particularly bad vehicle for the court to take up these issues," Berman said.



Libby Question Turns to Pardon

March 7, 2007

In this article from The New York Sun on the conviction of I. Lewis Libby Jr., professor Douglas A. Berman said some jail time was all but certain. "There is a heck of a lot of play in the joints," said Berman. "I can't think of a single case where a defendant went to trial and lost and didn't fess up, having guidelines in the incarceration range, not getting incarceration."



Libby's conviction in CIA leak case a setback for White House

March 7, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this story from the Los Angeles Times on the guilty verdict against former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. "If the government wants to go full-court press, they could argue ... in the range of five to seven years, and maybe more," said Berman. The guidelines, he said, allow for a sentence to be augmented when a defendant is convicted of covering up a serious crime, which in the case of Libby involved the possible disclosure of classified information.



Justices Decline Case on 200-Year Sentence for Man Who Possessed Child Pornography

February 27, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this article from The New York Times on a case involving an Arizona man who received a 200-year prison sentence for possessing 20 pornographic images of children and his failing to persuade the Supreme Court to consider whether the sentence was unconstitutionally excessive. Berman noted the difference in the court's treatment of punitive damages and criminal sentencing. "For a host of good reasons, the justices think they have a role in regulating extreme corporate punishment, but I fear the court doesn't embrace a role in regulating extreme individual punishment."



Ex-parks director to learn sentence

January 29, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this Columbus Dispatch article on the possible sentences for former Columbus recreation and parks director Wayne A. Roberts and his former girlfriend, Krystal Griffin, for scamming taxpayers. "I think it's awfully unlikely that they would get a sentence at the high end," said Berman. He noted that both are first-time offenders who pleaded guilty instead of making prosecutors take them to trial. "All judges are understandably concerned about being consistent. They also understand individual justice," he said. "The devil is always in the details."



Supreme Court Limits Judges’ Sentencing Power

January 23, 2007

In this article from The New York Times on Supreme Court invalidating California's criminal sentencing law on Monday, ruling that the 30-year-old statute gave judges authority that the Constitution places with juries, Professor Douglas A. Berman said the decision confirmed the Supreme Court as "the most liberal, pro-defendant court in the country on sentencing procedure."



Court ruling limits judges in sentencing defendants

January 23, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this Associated Press story about the Supreme Court making clear that juries, not judges, must determine facts that justify harsher prison sentences. Berman said the decision makes one point crystal clear. "You have to give defendants the full jury trial right," Berman said. This story appeared in 82 publications.



High Court Hears 3 Death Penalty Cases

January 18, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this Washington Post story about the Supreme Court of the United States and death penalty cases. Berman said the court's decisions in most death penalty cases affect only a handful of people in the states from which the cases arise. He would like to see the court spend time on other sentencing disparities "that affect thousands of people every day."



Court voids sentence in LAX plot

January 17, 2007

In this article from the Los Angeles Times on a federal appeals court in San Francisco overturning the 22-year sentence of Ahmed Ressam, known as the "millennium bomber," and sending it back to U.S. District Court in Seattle, Professor Douglas A. Berman said it made sense for the three-judge panel to send the case back to Coughenour and tell him to wait to resentence Ressam until the Supreme Court brings some clarity to federal sentencing law.



Backlash against hardball tactics

January 14, 2007

Professor Douglas A. Berman is quoted in this Chicago Tribune article on the government crackdown on corporate crime coming under pressure to back off amid intense business lobbying and adverse court rulings. "Every month that goes by, the pushback seems to gather more steam," says Berman. "It's a realization the tough-on-crime campaign against white-collar offenders was at risk of being too tough."



Scarlet Letter Sentencing: Judges may feel more free to craft sentences that suit the crime

December 20, 2006

Professor Douglas Berman is quoted in this ABA Journal article on creative sentences issued by judges. Berman says the nation can expect more (creative) sentences as judges feel free to use greater discretion thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 decision in U.S. v. Booker. Berman argues there are realities about particular offenders that only a judge looking at an individual offender can appreciate in crafting a sentence.



The Boss’s Computer

December 3, 2006

In this article from The New York Times on the strict punishment for possessing inappropriate pictures on a computer, Professor Douglas A. Berman describes the rationale for these laws: "We punish the kind of possession many concede is not inherently harmful but which contributes to behavior which produces much harm." That is, by stopping buyers, even those who have had no contact with an actual child, we hope to stop sellers, who do exploit children. Is this effective? Tough to prove.



Will Tort Reform Fade as New Priorities Emerge for Congress?

November 14, 2006

Professor Douglas Berman is quoted extensively in this story from The National Law Journal on the possible changes the new Congress will make to sentencing guidelines.



Blogs and the bench

November 13, 2006

American Public Media's Future Tense cites Professor Douglas Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy Blog as "one of the most often cited blogs."



Justices\' fractured rulings uncloak deep divisions

July 2, 2006

In an Associated Press story (printed in the Denver Post), Professor Douglas Berman is quoted about the end of the U.S. Supreme Court term. Professor Berman said that this was a closely divided court on a lot of issues that couldn\'t help but express genuine disagreements on the way critical legal issues ought to be examined. See also Early Supreme Court consensus gives way to fractured rulings (Houston Chronicle), Supreme Court can\'t hold consensus long (Coos Bay World, Oregon), More conservatism, not more harmony on Supreme Court (The Olympian, Washington), High court quickly grew contentious (St. Petersburg Times, Florida), Early Supreme Court consensus fades (Sacramento Bee)



Major changes, rulings mark Supreme Court term: Balance of power tipped to Kennedy, analysts contend

July 2, 2006

In a Reuters article printed in the Boston Globe about the recently-completed term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Professor Douglas Berman said that the court revealed that it is still deeply divided over whether and how it should be actively involved in the regulation of capital punishment. See also US top court term: two new members, major rulings (Reuters AlertNet) and US top court term: two new members, major rulings (Washington Post, July 1, 2006).



Kansans on death row wait for court's ruling

June 26, 2006

Professor Douglas Berman is quoted in this story about the anticipated ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that will likely decide whether prosecutors can pursue death sentences against two alleged killers.



Several factors influence sentences

May 26, 2006

In a USA Today story about the possible sentences that will be handed to Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, Professor Douglas Berman, an expert in federal sentencing, is quoted.



Botched execution fires up opponents of death penalty

May 4, 2006

Professor Doug Berman is cited in this Columbus Dispatch article for his thoughts on Joseph Lewis Clark's execution.



Supreme Court Fuels Death Penalty Debate

February 2, 2006

Professor Douglas Berman is quoted in this Associated Press article (via the New York Times) about the U.S. Supreme Court's ongoing debate over the mix of drugs used to carry out death sentences, with the justices delaying three executions and giving hope of eleventh-hour reprieves to other inmates. Berman said the court created "a ripple effect far beyond what they may have anticipated." The story also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post.



High Court to Hear Lethal-Injection Case

January 26, 2006

Professor Douglas Berman is quoted in this Washington Post article about the potential "mess" caused by the future Supreme Court ruling in the Clarence E. Hill case. The Supreme Court justices stopped Hill's execution dramatically after he had already been strapped in the gurney because of their decision to hear his claim that he should have an opportunity to argue that his civil rights would be violated because the chemicals used to execute him would cause excessive pain. A similar article also appeared in the Chicago Tribune.



Life without the critical fifth vote

October 7, 2005

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in The National Law Journal article about Sandra Day O'Connor's heightened scrutiny of capital cases.



Sensenbrenner plays defense on letter; His second-guessing of criminal sentence called 'bizarre' by some

July 13, 2005

In this Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel story about Wisconsin Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. and how he has come under fire for second-guessing a federal appeals court ruling in a Chicago drug case, Professor Douglas Berman is quoted.



Ebbers: Wrong place, wrong time

July 12, 2005

In this CNN/Money story, Professor Douglas Berman is quoted about former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers and his bad choice when considering when to commit a crime. Convicted of multiple charges and due to be sentenced Wednesday, Ebbers, who lost in recent days a bid for a new trial, could receive a life term at a time when stiff sentences for corporate cons seem routine.



Minimum Sentences Urged: Gonzales Responds to Rulings Against Mandatory Guidelines

June 22, 2005

Professor Douglas A. Berman, also a sentencing expert, is quoted in this Washington Post article about Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales' idea of a new system of mandatory minimum sentencing rules in response to recent Supreme Court decisions.



High Court Declines to Clarify Sentencing-Guideline Decision

June 21, 2005

Douglas A. Berman was quoted in the Wall Street Journal about how the Supreme Court turned down a petition to clarify its January decision that invalidated U.S. mandatory sentencing guidelines, leaving federal Circuit Courts to make their own rules on the matter.



Legal counsel for poor is in 'state of crisis,' ABA report says; More oversight, funding urged

February 11, 2005

In the Chicago Tribune, Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed regarding an American Bar Association report that indicates suspects who are unable to afford lawyers are wrongly convicted each year because they are pressured to accept guilty pleas or have incompetent attorneys.



Justices order review of 400-plus sentences; Court also backs searches by sniffer dogs

January 25, 2005

In the Washington Post, Douglas Berman was interviewed about a Supreme Court landmark decision yesterday that will give federal judges greater freedom in sentencing.



Impact Of Ross Execution Concerns Some; Others on death row, public at large would be affected by killer's death, legal experts say

January 20, 2005

In a New London, Conn., The Day, story about the possibility of convicted serial killer Michael Ross becoming the first person executed in Connecticut in more than 40 years, Professor Douglas Berman said that it is not uncommon that a volunteer is the first execution after the institution (or reinstitution) of the death penalty.



Sentencing Guidelines

January 18, 2005

Professor Douglas Berman joined Chicago Public Radio's Gretchen Helfrich for a discussion on federal sentencing guidelines.



Ruling Gives Judges Leeway on Sentencing Rules

January 13, 2005

A Kansas City Star story discusses how Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan affects local cases. Professor Douglas Berman and his on-line blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, are quoted.



High Court Loosens Criminal Sentencing Guidelines

January 13, 2005

In a Seattle Times story about Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan, Professor Douglas Berman said that the court's decision does not affect previously decided cases, although it could give defendants an argument to the contrary.



Court Orders Changes in Sentencing

January 13, 2005

In the Christian Science Monitor, Professor Douglas Berman said that the splintered nature of Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan may only sow more confusion.



How Judges Will Use Discretion is the Big Question

January 13, 2005

In the Los Angeles Times, Professor Douglas Berman said that inconsistencies in sentencing probably will increase as a result of Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan.



Sentencing Guidelines Tossed Out: Supreme Court Keeps Federal Strictures as Only Advisory

January 13, 2005

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Professor Douglas Berman said that the decision is going to be applied in diverse and dramatically different ways in the lower courts.



Ruling Gives Judges More Discretion in Sentencing

January 13, 2005

On National Public Radio\'s Morning Edition, Professor Douglas Berman talks about how Wednesday\'s Supreme Court decision could make some big changes in federal sentencing rules.



Judges get leeway on sentencing; Supreme Court rejects rules imposing mandatory penalties

January 13, 2005

In an Indianapolis Star story about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to abandon nearly two decades of federal sentencing practice, Professor Douglas Berman expressed concern that the decision will create the kind of judge-by-judge, circuit-by-circuit variation that the guidelines were intended to reduce.



Ruling's Impact Not Clear Yet: Fate of Defendant in Case that was Decided Uncertain

January 12, 2005

In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal article about the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan, Professor Douglas Berman said he suspected many defendants would seek re-sentencing, though it wasn't clear whether judges would comply.



Sentencing Guidelines

January 12, 2005

On NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Professor Douglas Berman discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Freddie J. Booker and United States v. Duncan Fanfan.



Court: Sentencing System Wrongly Applied

January 12, 2005

In an Associated Press article on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on federal sentencing guidelines, Professor Douglas Berman is quoted as saying "This creates more questions than it answers. There's going to be lots and lots of litigation."



Court Rejects Mandatory Sentencing Rules

January 12, 2005

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams discussed the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in Booker and Fanfan. Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed during the story and said, "The decision marks a dramatic change in the way sentencing in the federal courts go forward, because now judges have almost unconstrained authority to sentence anywhere within the broader statutory ranges that Congress has provided for offenses." [View News Clip - select "launch"]



Sentencing-Guideline Study Finds Continuing Disparities

November 27, 2004

A story by the Associated Press that appeared in The New York Times discussed a study conducted by the United States Sentencing Commission that examined how well the Federal Sentencing Guidelines had brought uniformity to punishments and found that disparities still existed among races and regions of the country. Professor Douglas Berman said, "Nobody wants to go back to the bad old days of complete unguided judicial discretion."



High court looks at sentencing guidelines

October 5, 2004

Professor Douglas Berman noted that more than 1,000 people are sentenced each day in federal and state courts. The story, which appeared in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.), detailed results of two federal sentencing cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on October 4.



Sentencing guidelines gain court priority

October 4, 2004

In a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story about the beginning of the 2004-2005 U.S. Supreme Court term, Professor Douglas Berman noted that the justices needed to deal with the fallout from a decision it rendered three months ago, U.S. v. Blakely, which dealt with federal sentencing guidelines. He noted that the federal sentencing system has ground to a halt.



High court sentencing showdown

October 4, 2004

In a Christian Science Monitor about how the U.S. Supreme Court answer to the question of whether the federal sentencing guideline empowers judges to perform a function the Constitution reserves for jurors, Professor Douglas Berman it affects every case that works its way through the criminal justice system.



Supremes are back

October 4, 2004

In an interview on Fox News Channel, Professor Douglas Berman said that the Blakely decision, which declared federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional, is the biggest criminal justice case before the U.S. Supreme Court in at least 25 years, possibly in the history of the court.



Court Offers Guidance on Sentencing In Md., Va.

August 4, 2004

In the Washington Post, Professor Douglas Berman credited the Fourth Circuit for making an effort but said that he found the recommendation for double sentences peculiar.



Supreme Court Will Revisit Sentencing Guidelines

August 3, 2004

On National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, Professor Douglas Berman discussed recent developments in the Blakely case.



Supreme Court to Take Up Mandatory Sentences

August 2, 2004

Interviewed on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Professor Douglas Berman discussed the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the federal sentencing guidelines in the wake of the Blakely decision.



Blakely Revisited

August 2, 2004

In a Legal Times article about Supreme Court's decision in Blakely v. Washington, Professor Douglas Berman said that the government is offering up cases that are "ugly on the facts" in which Blakely has resulted in what could seem to the Court and to the public as "underpunishment."



Sentence-Guideline Ruling Stirs Confusion

July 31, 2004

Interviewed on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, Professor Douglas Berman said that the Blakely decision found that every one of the facts that are critical to enhancing the defendant's sentence has to be found by a jury or admitted by the defendant.



Law Professor's Web Log is Jurists' Must-Read

July 19, 2004

A story in the Wall Street Journal featured Professor Douglas Berman and his web log, Sentencing Law and Policy.



Supreme Court Cleanup in Aisle 4

July 16, 2004

Professor Doug Berman's response.



No-Good Lazy Justices

July 15, 2004

The on-line magazine Slate quoted Professor Douglas Berman's web log, Sentencing Law and Policy.



Federal sentences here are in limbo after ruling

July 13, 2004

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding the Blakely v. Washington decision.



High Court Decision Sows Confusion on Sentencing Rules

July 13, 2004

In a Washington Post story, Professor Douglas Berman says that Blakely is like an earthquake.



High court ruling sows confusion

July 12, 2004

In a USA Today story about federal sentencing guidelines, Professor Douglas Berman said that now every judge has the discretion to make the rules up as he or she goes along.



Ruling: A Boston judge works to preserve the jury's role in American justice

July 12, 2004

Professor Douglas Berman said in a Baltimore Sun story that more plea bargains might be a possibility in the fallout of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Blakely v. Washington.



A loophole for Erpenbeck?

July 1, 2004

Professors Joshua Dressler and Douglas Berman were quoted in a Cincinnati Post story about a Supreme Court ruling that could make federal sentencing rules unconstitutional. They said that the June 24 decision in Blakely, along with the subsequent ruling on Tuesday by a federal judge in Utah may mean reworking the federal sentencing guideline system.



U.S. Judge Overturns Guidelines for Sentences

July 1, 2004

A federal judge in Utah ruled that the federal sentencing guidelines were unconstitutional, according to a story in the New York Times. In the story, Professor Douglas Berman said that the decision by Judge Paul G. Cassell of Federal District Court in Salt Lake City was likely to be influential.