June 19, 2004
Disparity Study from Alaska
There is an amazing amount of amazing research on state criminal justice and sentencing systems which get little national attention. In a series of posts, I hope to highlight some of this research. And it seems only appropriate to start at the top --- with a stunningly comprehensive report produced by the Alaska Judicial Council. Upon a recommendation from the Alaska Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Fairness and Access, the Judicial Council compile data on Alaska felony cases. As documented in a full report of stunning proportions (over 350 pages!), the Council reviewed predisposition incarceration, charge reductions, case dismissals, sentencing, post-disposition incarceration and total time incarcerated. In a comprehensive executive summary (which runs 41 pages!), the Council highlights that it found evidence that Alaska's criminal justice system was generally even-handed, but if did find some disparities by ethnicity, type of attorney, gender and rural location. The full report includes descriptive data about the court process for cases filed as felonies in 1999, and a detailed description of the multivariate analysis, findings and recommendations.
June 18, 2004
With at most only a few weeks before the end of the term, the Supreme Court's still has not handed down a decision in Blakely v. Washington (which should provide much more guidance about the meaning of Apprendi). This fact is leading me to think that the decision might prove to be be a blockbuster along the lines of Ring v. Arizona, and not a big nothing like Harris v. United States. Stay Tuned.
June 17, 2004
USSC's Latest Annual Report
The U.S. Sentencing Commission has just released its 2002 Annual Report, which presents an overview of major Commission activities and accomplishments for fiscal year 2002. Also now available is the Commission's 2002 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics, which provides descriptive figures, tables and charts, and selected district, circuit and national sentencing data. Importantly, each of these documents repeatedly explains that "[t]he data contained in this report pertain solely to cases sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines PRIOR to the enactment of the PROTECT Act, Pub. L. 108–21."