Features

Columns

Criminal

From the Bench: Federal Sentencing: Time for a Second Look?

Sentencing in the federal criminal justice system is driven by retribution, not rehabilitation. In part for that reason, there are scant opportunities for sentencing modification, even for inmates who are serving lengthy sentences of 15 years or more. It was for this reason that so many inmates, in the waning days of the Obama administration, sought and obtained commutations of their sentences pursuant to the president’s pardon power. Many of the inmates who obtained relief had undergone rehabilitation while in prison such that their continued incarceration for the length of their original sentences was no longer necessary or appropriate. In many hundreds of cases, these sentences were drastically reduced.

Litigation & Trials

On the Papers: Five Varieties of Point Placement: The Construction of the English Paragraph, Part V

In previous articles in this series on paragraph structure, I have claimed that if a paragraph is born to make a point, that point should most often be articulated explicitly, in a single sentence. The placement of that point sentence is crucial: Readers expect to find it either (1) as the last sentence of the paragraph’s issue (and that issue can be one, two, or three sentences) or (2) at the end of the discussion that flows from that issue. This article explores when each of these two point placements works best.

Litigation & Trials

iWitness: How Foreign Companies’ Online Activities Can Increase Exposure to U.S. Litigation

Your client is a multinational company with headquarters in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China, and subsidiaries in Los Angles, Detroit, and New York. You represent the company’s Los Angeles–based subsidiary in an unfair competition litigation action in federal court, and discovery is heating up. You receive an urgent message from your client that the opposing counsel has delivered a subpoena duces tecum to the L.A. subsidiary that seeks testimony and documents from the Chinese entity in connection with the unfair competition case. What is your reaction?

Litigation & Trials

Sidebar: How to Win at Trial

It was the worst experience of my life. Much worse than when Bill Mazeroski hit a ninth-inning homer to beat the Yanks in the 1960 World Series and broke a young boy’s heart. The judge despised me, my clients, my case. Bitter and crafty, he did everything in this month-long medical malpractice trial to make sure I walked away with empty pockets. Other than my summation, I stunk. Not only was the defense attorney smarter and more skilled—he also was accommodating and affable, which made it difficult for even a miserable guy like me to hate him. And I love to hate adversaries.

Headnotes

Immigration

Civil Rights: The “Muslim Ban” Violates U.S. Law and Treaty Commitments

In one of his first acts as president of the United States, Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking Syrian and other refugees who had already been approved for U.S. resettlement, as well as immigrants and travelers from seven Muslim majority countries. The January 27, 2017, order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” quickly became known as the “Muslim ban.” Although the executive order did not describe itself as a “Muslim ban,” its discriminatory purpose and impact were obvious.