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This Article reflects on the author's professional experience and intellectual evolution in relation to federal sentencing policy and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines before and after the Supreme Court's decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey.

The account begins with the author's first encounters with the Guidelines when he was a zealous Assistant U.S. Attorney, continues through his transition to teacher, scholar, policy advocate, and occasional sentencing consultant, and concludes with the author pessimistic about the prospects of meaningful federal sentencing reform.

The utility, if any, of these musings will lie partly in the fact that the author has been deeply involved with federal sentencing policy and practice for thirty years but mostly in the fact that he has felt obliged to change his mind as events and experience challenged his previous convictions. Some reconstruction of the evolution of the author's thinking as the Guidelines arose, failed, and died - but then achieved an enduring afterlife as law that lingers even though it cannot bind-may be of modest use when the time finally comes to build something truly new.

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