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The Feeney Amendment
By Lawrence Goldman
President's Column columns.
Apparently, the prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice and their
allies in our single-party government do not feel that judges should
have as much power as they have. The prosecutors already decide who to
charge, what to charge, what plea to accept and, increasingly, what the
sentence, or at least sentencing range, is. Four out of five downward
departures from the Sentencing Guidelines are requested by prosecutors.
But the one out of five that a judge imposes without their agreement
bothers them. They want to eliminate or greatly curtail these
The Feeney Amendment, passed by Congress in April, is part of the new
war on the judiciary (which includes the proposed congressional subpoena
to Chief Judge James Rosenbaum of Minnesota). Tom Feeney (R-FL) is a
glib, tough-talking, first-term congressman from the Orlando area. In
March, NACDL Legislation Director Kyle O’Dowd and I met with him to
discuss the Innocence Protection Act. Congressman F
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