Flying over corruption?
According to the FCPA Blog, Alabama is supposedly the 6th most-corrupt state in the Union. Mississippi takes top honors. Oregon claims to be the least corrupt. (Perhaps the Ducks’ hurry-up offense leaves no time for kickbacks). Here is the full study.
By “corruption,” the authors focus on public corruption as prosecuted by DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Public Integrity’s track record in Alabama has been mixed, though, most recently in the “bingo” acquittals. For some white-collar defendants, it may be Sweet Home, Alabama after all, but there can be immense pain, expense and destruction along the way.
A good summary from Sentencing Law and Policy Blog about Alabama’s new sentencing guidelines:
I find it so very telling that when states create sentencing guidelines which generally push judges away from long prison terms (unlike the federal guidelines which general push judges toward long prison terms) we hear state prosecutors complaining that use of guidelines at sentencing does not capture all the unique facets of offenses and offenders. This provide for me still more proof that the severity of applicable rules is what really shapes the litigants perspectives as to whether sentencing guidelines should be presumptive or merely advisory.
For lots of reasons, and perhaps especially because Alabama’s sentencing laws are evolving in kind of the reverse concerning how federal sentencing laws evolved over the last 25 years, I think sentencing reformers ought to be studying Alabama sentencing reforms past, present and future very closely.
This is the truth: discussion about sentencing guidelines hinges on your view of their severity (or the lack thereof).