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Press Release - October 21, 2003

The ABA Justice Kennedy Commission Hearings

Washington, D.C., November 12, 13, and 14, 2003

ABA President Dennis Archer has appointed "The ABA Justice Kennedy Commission" to examine issues raised by United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his historic speech to the ABA at its annual meeting on August 9, 2003 in San Francisco. President Archer has asked the Commission to prepare recommendations and a report for consideration by the ABA at its next annual meeting -- to be held in Atlanta in August 2004. For the Commission to meet the deadline set by President Archer, it needs the immediate help of knowledgeable and concerned individuals and groups. The issues we shall consider include:

  • Whether the use of mandatory minimum sentencing at the state and federal levels should be repealed.
  • Whether sentencing guidelines have unduly limited judicial discretion in sentencing and require revision.
  • Why more than 40 percent of our 2.1 million prison population are people of color and more than 20 percent are Hispanic.
  • Whether prison conditions encourage rehabilitation and reentry after prison or promote recidivism and require revision.
  • Whether the pardon process at the state and federal levels should be reinvigorated.

The Commission has scheduled three days of hearings in the Moot Court Room of the George Washington University Law School on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 12, 13 and 14. The hearings will be open to the public, and attendance of interested parties is encouraged. Because of time constraints, the Commission cannot hear oral testimony from all individuals and groups who might like to testify. The Commission is anxious, however, to receive written submission from any individual or group with experience, expertise and interest in the issues described above. Written statements should be submitted by 5 p.m., Wednesday, November 5, 2003 by e-mail to Tom Smith,
Executive Director, ABA Criminal Justice Section. His e-mail address is .


Tom C. Smith, Director
ABA Criminal Justice Section
740 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 662-1510
Fax: (202) 662-1501

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