The Champion

June 2003 , Page 4 

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The Feeney Amendment

By Lawrence Goldman

Read more 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 departures.

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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