initial success and drug sentencing - the forecast is still grey for teens...

a couple of news stories caught my eye today. the first has to do with the mandatory sentencing of drug offenses. namely, the supreme court ruled that judges may employ judicial discretion "to reduce the disparity between sentences for crack and cocaine powder." this alleviates the inequitable treatment between crack and cocaine arrests 'on paper,' however, as noted by ny times writer adam liptak, "if history is any guide, judges will continue to use their sentencing power relatively sparingly," quoting "law specialists." his commentary continues:
"Now that the Supreme Court has again emphasized that federal trial judges have the discretion to move outside the guidelines, further departures are rather likely. But the size of that may not be huge, said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. “The really interesting question,” Professor Berman said, “is whether we get a more significant gravitation away from the guidelines."
what does this mean for how youth get sentenced? and what discretion judges use in swinging their gavels in the direction of educational and treatment programs over detention and jail placements?

i can only hope these same judges, who are sure to hear about this ruling, don't also read another news story from today:
Your initials may spell success
yes, that's right: this article details the results of a series of psych studies that report how "'name-letter effect' influences performance in different situations."
a few tasty tidbits from this article:
"Basically what [they] found was that people tend to favor the letters in their own name, and in particular, they have a fondness for their initials," said Joseph Simmons of Yale University, co-author of the new studies.
"People tend to gravitate toward life outcomes that resemble their names," Simmons explained. "So for example, we know now that people named Jack are more likely to move to Jacksonville as compared to people named Phil, who are more likely to move to Philadelphia."
In a separate study, Simmons and Nelson compared students' initials with their GPAs and found that students who had "C" or "D" as an initial had lower GPAs than students who had "A" or "B" as an initial. People with "C" or "D" initials don't want to do badly, Simmons explained, but on some unconscious level doing poorly is "just ever so slightly not as bad, and so they're ever so slightly less motivated to avoid it."
with all of this information in the ether, we can only hope that it gets filtered thoughtfully, and motivates responsible action. what responsible means is a topic for new post...

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