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Alberto Gonzales' Hearing: Non-Torture Issues

Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy analyzes the responses of Alberto Gonzales at his confirmation hearing with respect to some non-torture issues, particlarly, those dealing with rehabilitation of prisoners and the Sentencing Guidelines. In response to a question by Sen. Arlen Specter about differentiating between violent and non-violent criminals, Gonzales replied:

I agree ... that for people who commit violent crimes and are career criminals, they should remain in our prisons. But there is a segment of the prison population — juveniles, for an example, as you mentioned, and first-time, maybe sometimes second- time offenders — who can be rehabilitated. And as I said earlier in response to a question, I think it is not only smart, but I think it's the right thing to do. I think it is part of a compassionate society to give someone another chance.

But, as Professor Berman notes is a follow-up post, the plot thickens. Today's Buffalo News reports the Bush Administration is eliminating its shock incarceration program.

As to the future of the Sentencing Guidelines, Gonzales said he and the Administration are awaiting the Supreme Court decisions in Booker and Fan-Fan (note: TChris, Talkleft's contributing blogger, is counsel for Booker, and probably anxiously awaiting the decision as much as anyone). Gonzales said:

The sentencing guidelines are subject to litigation being reviewed now by the Supreme Court. And so we're all waiting to see whether or not, under Booker and Fanfan, that the court's going to apply the Blakely decision to the sentencing guidelines. And if that happens, I suspect you and I and other — if I’m confirmed — other members of the committee will be spending a lot of time talking about sentencing issues.

Professor Beman is pleased Gonzales is "up on the legal realities" of the sentencing issue. I'm much more wary. I think the talking Gonzales is referring to relates to an attempt by the Administration to commission legislation, that already may be waiting in the wings, to make virtually every federal offense a mandatory minimum to get around the Supreme Court decision if it invalidates the Guidelines.

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  • Old Alberto is the hit guy for Bush and family, you will see open Torture being used and so called Terrorists or a homeless preson, or a person who is not happy with an insane government. Soon Old Alberto will start his job and you won't see it coming but you are the real target and as far as our non government cares you are the real enemies of this insane government. Think third world and be happy in your work Alberto, remember Torture is ok if you report it and bad if you don't report it. (A REAL SWINE)

    I watched the hearings on streaming video, and was struck by how superficial discussions of non-torture issues were. At one point, Gonzales was lobbed a softball by a Republican along the lines of asking what non-Homeland Security justices issues Gonzales wanted to 'make his mark' on as AG, and he replied "drugs and pornography"....like he just wanted to provide more of the same status quo good old fashioned vice-fighting on both issues. No more nuanced talk of mandatory minimums, treatment vs. incarceration, or even what the heck pr0n Gonzales wanted to go after. Bleeech. It's like he was being confirmed in some other parallel universe where the WoD is not the DOJ's #1 (through 10) crime-fighthing issues. J

    It makes me wonder if the liberal dems have taken the message of the Wellstone plane crash, the Leahy and Daschle anthrax mailings to heart. I suspect it has been mortally unhealthy to stand in the way of the military industrial complex ever since I figured out that they killed JFK. Put yourself in their spots. How vocal do you want to be? You flying anywhere anytime soon? You need to fly to campaign next election cycle? Never mind the political and financial targeting of even slightly progressive and principled dem politicians like Daschle, think about Wellstone, his wife and daughter dead. You want to put your loved ones in danger? We could be in trouble here folks.

    Could be? We are certainly in trouble, worldwide. But it isn't all roses for the Bushliars. They have burned their credibility to the ground, their own party is angry about it, and for sure much of America does not consider this a legal government. It is certainly not a Constitutional gov't, no matter how many millions of bloody dollars Reinquist stuffs up Bush's behind on Jan. 20. "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." MLK Jr. Stolen elections will NOT cover up the blood. --

    Yes, I hope so. The arc of justice bends the way it does because of their individual consciences becoming a collective will. I don't know if the election was stolen, I suspect it was, but I am quite certain that we need serious election reform and the group in power are not interested. ' There is no reason to believe that Alberto will bring the DOJ to bear on issues of electoral reform or voting violations. He is hispanic, photogenic, has a cute son and I suspect he is a patsy.

    Re: Alberto Gonzales' Hearing: Non-Torture Issues (none / 0) (#6)
    by soccerdad on Mon Jan 10, 2005 at 06:27:11 AM EST
    We could be in trouble here folks Ever the optimist. we are in deep trouble already. It will remain this way until most people find out that this admin doesn't care about them. Just their corporate buddies.