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The Champion

September 2008 , Page 40 

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An Interview with John Steer

By The Champion

The U.S. Sentencing Commission oversees the operation and revision of the federal sentencing guidelines. For some observers, sentencing law and policy are the reasons our prison population has exploded since the commission’s inception.

Former commission member John R. Steer talks to The Champion and discusses, among other things, whether he would exclude the use of acquitted conduct at sentencing; how the defense bar can influence the outcome of issues considered by the commission; and the potential of alternatives to incarceration to meet the needs of sentencing.

Case law handed down in recent years has untied the hands of judges, giving them discretion at sentencing rather than requiring them to plug in numbers that do not reflect the unique circumstances of each defendant. Thus, members of the defense bar have reason for hope. And yet they realize that the struggle for just, effective, and constitutional sentencing continues each day in courtrooms across

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