Circuit Calls for Reintroduction of Parole for Federal Defendants

December 8, 2020New York Law Journal

Recently, in what could have been just a simple summary affirmance of a lengthy sentence, the Second Circuit (Judges Jon Newman and Rosemary Pooler) issued a plea to lawmakers and to the Sentencing Commission to consider bringing parole back into the federal system. The opinion in United States v. Portillo, No. 19-2158, in which the Circuit upheld a 55-year sentence for a juvenile defendant whom it suggested would be a prime candidate for parole, comes at a time when criminal justice and sentencing reform is again a headline topic. It demonstrates that some courts see themselves playing a role in that process. The panel also raises the notable question of whether parole—which was abolished in 1987 as part of the 1984 Sentencing Reform Act—should be reintroduced.

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