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Niall Ferguson has written a fabulous piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled *The Regulated States of America. *In it he argues that Alexander de Tocqueville's warning that America's government would become "an immense tutelary power . . . absolute, detailed, regular . . . cover[ing] [society's] surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way" has more or less come to pass (although Ferguson still holds out hope).

De Tocqueville foresaw just how this regulatory state would smush criminal defendants and the defense bar. He writes

It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.

I don't know that I've read a better description of the federal sentencing guidelines and what they've done to advocacy.

Read Ferguson's article here.

Criminal LawSmythe PC