Judge Rejects Passenger Data Lawsuits

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thanatoast, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. Thanatoast macrumors 65816


    Dec 3, 2002
    Great. A judge has decided that I don't mind having the government track my every move and purhcase. Guess I'm not very reasonable.

  2. Neserk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2004

    That is going to get overruled. A reasonable person also wouldn't mind the police coming in to have a look around. We all know that if you aren't doing anything wrong you ain't got nothin' to hide! Right?
  3. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2004
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    This judge is pretty interesting . . .

    Judge speaks out against Congress, Ashcroft

    by Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
    October 22, 2003

    St. Paul, Minn. — Federal judges are usually reclusive, almost hermit-like in expressing opinions outside their rulings. So it is in that context that Judge Paul Magnuson's pointed criticism of Congress and Attorney General John Ashcroft was so atypical.

    In the middle of a written explanation of his recent sentencing of a former grain elevator manager, Magnuson said one of the reasons he would not show leniency in the case was due to recent policies instituted by Congress and the attorney general -- policies he says intimidate and scare judges from departing downward from sentencing guidelines.

    "I would remind the judge that he ought to get out the Constitution, where it's very clear that other than the United States Supreme Court, all of the other federal courts are only established by the will of the United States Congress," says U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Florida.

    Under the Feeney Amendment, federal prosecutors must report to Ashcroft whenever a federal judge sentences an offender to less time than guidelines call for. Feeney takes issue with Magnuson's comments, and says the reports hold judges publicly accountable.

    "All the law does is ask that if you're going to ignore the sentencing guidelines and hand out a more liberal sentence, that you ought to explain in writing what your logic and thinking was," says Feeney. "And that the Justice Department is going to keep track of how many times and how often individual judges in different circuits depart from the sentencing guidelines themselves."

    Speaking for the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis Tom Heffelfinger says he's sorry that Judge Magnuson feels intimidated.

    "I can say that it's not the intention of the Department of Justice to intimidate any judge," says Heffelfinger. "In practice, I'm confident that none of the judges that we deal with in Minnesota are intimidated by us or the Department of Justice."

    Magnuson's comments put into words what many federal judges apparently fear -- that Congress and the U.S. attorney general are trying to control the judiciary. Those fears were particularly heightened in May, when Minnesota's Chief Judge, James Rosenbaum, was called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. the committee threatened to subpoena his records in all cases in which he didn't abide by the guidelines.

    Magnuson declined comment for this story. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul says if the judges aren't abiding by the guidelines for valid reasons, the government can always appeal. He says what's troubling is that the monitoring is one-sided -- Congress and the attorney general are only looking at occasions when judges are lenient.​

    And another story:

    Judge Quits Case Over Federal Sentencing Guideline
    January 22, 2001 at 07:45:51 PT

    A federal judge critical of mandatory drug-sentencing laws removed himself from a criminal case rather than sentence a first-time drug offender to 10 years in prison.

    Chief U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson of St. Paul refused to comply with an order from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to give Shellie Langmade more prison time.

    " Langmade will be sacrificed on the altar of Congress' obsession with punishing crimes involving narcotics, " Magnuson wrote Thursday in the order taking himself off the case.

    " I am so embittered by the government' s merciless conduct that I simply could not be impartial upon resentencing."

    Magnuson' s decision was uncommon but not unheard of, according to University of Minnesota law professor Barry Feld. Feld said the case is part of a national debate over mandatory sentences in state and federal nonviolent drug offenses.

    " The federal sentencing guidelines and drug policies are really irresponsible and unjust, and there are a few courageous judges out there who have been willing to say so, " he said.​

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