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Lawyer Urges Comment On Guidelines

Dear Editor:

The Jan. 27, 1997, issue of Lawyers Weekly USA reported that the U.S. Sentencing Commission is proposing three possible guidelines in order for a sentencing judge to consider prior charges for which the defendant was acquitted.

Apparently, the Commission intends to enact one of the following three proposals later this year: Prior charges may be considered 1) if the defendant’s guilt is established by “clear and convincing evidence”; 2) if the defendant’s guilt is “independently established by evidence not admitted at trial”; or, 3) if doing so would not raise “substantial concerns of fundamental unfairness.”

I can think of any number of ways to argue that the proposals are simply unjust and unworkable. For readers who agree, the Commission is accepting written comments if received by March 17, 1997. Readers may send their comments to:

U.S. Sentencing Commission

One Columbus Circle, N.E.

Suite 2-500

Washington, D.C. 20002-8002

ATTN: Public Information

David R. Denton

Chesterfield

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