College of Law

Law Review Symposia

Discretion Realized?: Federal Sentencing Ten Years After United States v. Booker

Federal Sentencing SymposiumOctober 16, 2015
University of Toledo College of Law
Richard and Jane McQuade Law Auditorium
Co-sponsored by the University of Toledo Law Review and the Federal Sentencing Reporter

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Ten years ago, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Booker, making the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines advisory. This has given distrct judges the discretion to sentence according to their own individual policy views.  However, Congress has limited this discretion by enacting numerous mandatory minimum laws.  These laws allow prosecutors maintain a firm grasp over sentencing by charging offenses carrying mandatory minimum sentences.

This year, our symposium will be an anniversary review of Booker and its aftermath in order to assess whether judicial discretion has been realized. Our panels will cover four topics:

(1) an overview of the state of sentencing post-Booker;

(2) the effect of mandatory minimums on judicial discretion;

(3) views of federal judges on their discretion; and

(4) the future of sentencing reform, including proposed amendments to the Guidelines.

Renowned sentencing scholar Prof. Douglas Berman will deliver the keynote address.

Presenters’ scholarly contributions will appear in Volume 47, Issue 3 of the University of Toledo Law Review.

Practitioners in  the federal court system, including judicial clerks, probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges, will find this symposium of interest.

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8-8:30 A.M. REGISTRATION and Continental Breakfast
Benjamin Barros , Dean, University of Toledo College of Law
8:45-10:00 A.M.

Panel 1: The State of Sentencing Post-Booker (75 mins)
Ten years ago U.S. v. Booker was decided, rendering the Federal Sentencing Guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. This panel will address the changes in sentencing brought on by returning discretion to judges through examining data collected after a decade.
Frank Bowman, Floyd R. Gibson Missouri Endowed Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
Dr. Paul Hofer, Senior Policy Analyst‑Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders
Alan Dorhoffer, Deputy Director‑Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, U.S. Sentencing Commission
Ryan Scott, Professor of Law, Indiana University Mauer School of Law
Moderator:  Assoc. Professor Evan Zoldan, University of Toledo College of Law

10-10:15 A.M. BREAK
10:15-11:30 A.M. Panel 2: Mandatory Minimums (75 mins)

Despite the advisory nature of the Guidelines, discretion in sentencing does not rest solely with judges. This panel will examine where discretion, and ultimately power, in sentencing is housed by discussing the role of mandatory minimums as well as plea bargaining.
-  Ava Rotell Dustin, Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney, Northern District of Ohio
-  Eric Corns, Supervising U.S. Probation Officer, Northern District of Ohio
-  Craig Haller, Assistant United States Attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania
-  Hon. Paul Borman, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Michigan
Moderator:  Assoc. Professor Gregory Gilchrist, University of Toledo College of Law

11:30 A.M.-12:15 P.M. Keynote Speech: The Punitive New Deal: Federal Sentencing Reform's Place in Modern American History

Professor Doug Berman, Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

12:15 – 1:00 P.M. LUNCH (45 mins)
1:00-2:15 P.M. Panel 3: Judicial Discretion Post-Booker (75 mins)

This panel will discuss the changes in discretion from the perspective of federal judges, which. includes experience with sentencing both before Booker and after.
Hon. Arthur Tarnow, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Michigan
Hon. Jeffrey Helmick, Senior U.S. District Judge, Northern District of Ohio
Hon. Robert Pratt, Senior District Judge, Southern District of Iowa
Moderator:  Professor Jelani Jefferson Exum, University of Toledo College of Law

2:15-3:30 P.M. Panel 4: (75 mins)

This panel explores the future of sentencing, namely in terms of sentencing reform.
Denise Barrett, National Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public Defender
Lex Coleman, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Southern District of West Virginia
Bill Otis, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Jeremy Haile, Federal Advocacy Counsel, The Sentencing Project
Moderator:  Associate Dean and Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values Geoffrey Rapp, University of Toledo College of Law
*Late addition to this panel is Professor Susan Klein.  Professor Klein is co-author of the casebook Federal Criminal Law and Its Enforcement and is currently the Alice McKean Young Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law.

3:30 P.M. Closing Remarks


The program will be held at The University of Toledo College of Law Auditorium. Directions and lodging information.


Fees and Registration

This course has been approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education for 5.75 total CLE hours instruction.

$85 for CLE credit (no lunch)
$97 for CLE credit and box lunch
$12 for box lunch only (advance registration required)



Last Updated: 4/3/20