Blowing Out All the Candles: A Few Thoughts on the Twenty-Fifth Birthday of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984

J.C. Oleson *

Happy Birthday, Sara!

Yes, I know that your full name is the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-473, 98 Stat. 1987, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 3551 et seq. and 28 U.S.C. §§ 991 to 998, but that’s an awful mouthful. And really, you’ll always be just “SRA”—Sara—to me. Sara, 2009 was your twenty-fifth birthday and in your honor, throughout 2009 and early 2010, the United States Sentencing Commission (“Commission”) held parties across the country. Yes, I know, officially they called them regional hearings, convened pursuant to the Commission’s authority under 28 U.S.C. § 994(o), but we know that they were really birthday parties for you.

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* Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Auckland. J.D., 2001, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall); Ph.D., 1998, University of Cambridge; M. Phil., 1995, University of Cambridge; B.A., 1994, Saint Mary’s College of California.