Margaret C. Tarkington Professor of Law and Dean’s Fellow, IU McKinney School of Law Co-Director, J.D. Program Evaluation & […]
JOHN MILLIKAN J.D. Candidate, 2019, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; B.A. 2009, Anderson University. In […]
JAMES A. SONNE Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Director of its Religious Liberty Clinic As […]
Kathleen Clark Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law The U.S. Department of Justice has a long […]
Evan C. Zoldan[i]
When the Court of Appeals of Indiana decided an important case about gun liability in May 2019, it got a key legal point wrong. The case, City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson,[ii]arose out of a lawsuit filed by the City of Gary, Indiana (the “City”), against Smith & Wesson and other firearms manufacturers. The City asked the court to hold the manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance and for the negligent design, distribution, and marketing of firearms. After the City’s lawsuit was filed, the Indiana legislature passed a statute granting immunity to gun manufacturers for these types of claims. Because the lawsuit predated the statute, however, it was not clear whether the statute would affect the pending lawsuit.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines were originally imposed by Congress in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (SRA). This statute was an attempt to create a determinate sentencing system, which included large-scale elimination of parole and severe restriction of good time credit in order to create a system in which criminals would serve most or all of the time to which they were sentenced.
For nearly 100 years prior to the enactment of the SRA, the U.S. federal criminal system was an indeterminate sentencing system, under which “[s]tatutes specified the penalties for crimes but nearly always gave the sentencing judge wide discretion” in whether an individual should be incarcerated and for how long, and as to whether the use of parole was appropriate.