October 18, 2004

Your Preparation for Wednesday’s Compensation Conference

If you are registered for the October 20th compensation conference and intend to participate by webcast, you might want to print off the Speaker Materials before it starts (scroll down beyond testing instructions to access the Speaker Materials) – if you intend to attend in San Francisco, we will have those materials already there for you as a handout. And don’t forget, if you are participating by webcast, please test your ability to access streaming video before the 20th – here are instructions on how to test.

If you have not registered yet – but have now decided to do so – you can register by just walking in on the day of the conference in San Francisco – or if you wish to participate by webcast, you can still register online. However, we can no longer process any registrations by phone because all of our staff is already setting up for the conference at the hotel. (Please don’t call me either as I also am at the conference location to help set up.)

If you have a question about what a speaker says during the conference, please post it in the Q&A Forum – and the speakers will try to post answers when they get back to their offices.

Remember that the program starts Wednesday at 7:30 am West Coast time – that is 10:30 am Eastern Time and 9:30 am Central Time. And all of the video will be archived – so you can jump in and out to watch segments as your day allows and come back to review anything you missed.

2005 Proxy Season Resource Center is Up!

We have updated our “Proxy Season Resource Center” for 2005 – if you are looking for something that you can’t find in there, please let me know and we will try to add it.

Here Come Those Disney Articles…

The significance of Wednesday’s Disney trial can’t be understated – and the media already is capturing that significance – see today’s NY Times and this article from today’s USA Today.

First Federal Judge Rules Sentencing Guidelines Entirely Unconstitutional

A week ago Wednesday, a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of federal sentencing rules, U.S. District Judge Owen Panner in Portland concluded that federal sentencing guidelines are unconstitutional because it violated the seperation-of-powers doctrine in US v. Detwiler.

This is the first opinion to find the guidelines unconstitutional in their entirety under last year’s Feeney Amendment, which gave the executive branch far more say in sentencing decisions – but the immediate implications of the ruling are unclear because some of the issues that Judge Panner raised are before the US Supreme Court (and Judge Panner’s decision is likely to be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court). The Feeney Amendment, among other things, gives the executive branch power to appoint individuals to the federal sentencing commission, which considers such questions as what sentences are appropriate for certain crimes.

Judge Panner’s 31-page decision outlines specific objections to the new law, such as the US President can stack the Sentencing Commission with political allies, effectively taking control of a commission that is supposed to be a part of the judicial branch; law gives federal prosecutors too much power to pressure defendants into pleading guilty (noting even before the amendment, 99% of all federal criminal convictions in Oregon resulted from a plea, not a trial); and the law tries to intimidate judges because it requires that the U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees and the attorney general be notified when a judge departs from the guidelines and hands down a shorter sentence.