In retiring from the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals January 1, Chief Justice Donald P. Lay said that "the greater disappointment" of his experience was the law's failure to deal with fair sentencing of those convicted of crimes and the parallel failure to provide humane conditions of confinement.
Lay, who served on the court for 25 years and as its chief justice for the last 12, said that the congressional implementation of federal guideline sentencing "is the greatest travesty of justice in our legal system in this century."
The guidelines, he said, have inundated the courts with wasteful procedures and created a far greater disparity of sentencing than ever existed before.
"It is said that we need to study and reevaluate guideline sentencing" the judge continued, but "this all takes time. The thousands of lives that lie in the balance and the vast economic waste in both our court and prison systems do not justify study. [The guidelines] should be abolished today."
Source: Lincoln, Neb., Journal
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