New York's Federal Judges Protest Sentencing Procedures

To most people, they might seem like minor outbursts. But in the last few months, federal judges in New York, who tend to steer judiciously clear of politics and public debate, have been surprisingly vocal in their criticism of a new sentencing law that they say represents a breach in the separation of powers and bullies them into handing down harsher sentences. In June, Judge John S. Martin Jr. of United States District Court in Manhattan announced that he was taking early retirement, relinquishing his lifetime appointment, in part, he said, to protest what he called the unjust nature of the sentencing process. Three months later, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, John M. Walker Jr., and 26 colleagues from around the country signed a statement calling for repeal of the law.


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