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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 

99 Years

While reading through the newest opinions from my beloved Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, I came across an interesting footnote. In US v Bullock, Judge Terence Evans (MULS alum) is writing for the panel. The case concerns the length of a sentence given to a heroin dealer. Our lucky contestant got 1200 months in federal prison. Yup, 100 years. Before jumping into the court's Booker analysis, Judge Evans hits us with this odd sentence and footnote...
One hundred years is a long time - one year longer, in fact, than the standard lyrical shorthand for an unimaginably long sentence.
The footnote follows...
See, e.g., Bruce Springsteen, "Johnny 99" ("Well the evidence is clear, gonna let the sentence, son, for the crime / Prison for 98 and a year and we'll call it even, Johnny 99."); Bob Dylan, "Percy's Song" ("It may be true he's got a sentence to serve / But ninety-nine years, he just don't deserve."); Johnny Cash, "Cocaine Blues" ("The judge he smiled as he picked up his pen / Ninety-nine years in the Folsom pen / Ninety-nine years underneath that ground / I can't forget the day I shot that bad bitch down."); Ed Bruce, "Ninety-Seven More To Go" ("Ninety-nine years go so slow / When you still got ninety-seven more to go.")...
The footnote continues at some length, and I don't feel like typing it all. I think it's safe to say that Judge Evans is a music fan. You never know what you are going to find in these cases.

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