Monday, February 15, 2010

Professor Berman on a Comic Book Plea Deal

Over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Professor Doug Berman has added some interesting comments about plea bargaining and sentencing differentials to the end of a blog regarding a man who pleaded guilty to violation of the 2003 Protect Act and was sentenced to six months in prison for importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality.

With regard to the decision of the individual to plead guilty, Professor Berman stated:
Because I am not a First Amendment guru, I have no strong sense of whether Christopher Handley's prosecution and conviction for importing the wrong kind of comic books from Japan should be considered constitutionally problematic. But, as a sentencing guru, I do have a strong sense that the threat of a much longer (guideline recommended?) sentence after any trial likely prompted Handley to plead guilty and to apparently forego whatever constitutional defenses he might have had available.

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