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December 28, 2005

Guideline enhancement data from USSC

Interestingly, the US Sentencing Commission's Booker page now has two new data reports (available here), but they are likely to be of interest only to guideline data junkies or to those who might urge a "Blakely-ization" response by Congress to Booker.  Here is the USSC's description of the new data:

Guideline Application Frequencies for Fiscal Year 2003.  The materials contained herein are basically two comprehensive data tables.  The first [at this link], entitled Use of Guidelines and Specific Offense Characteristics: Fiscal Year 2003, details the use of each guideline, alternative base offense level, and Specific Offense Characteristic (SOC) in Fiscal Year 2003. The second [at this link], entitled Chapter Three Adjustments, Use of Specific Offense Characteristics, Upward Departures and Trial Rates: Fiscal Year 2003, gives the number and percentage of cases involving the use of the pertinent guidelines sections.

Even putting aside that this data is two years old, for anyone not steeped in guideline minutiae, these tables will be as mysterious as they are mind-numbing.  But true sentencing nerds should realize that these tables detail all the enhancements based on judicial fact-finding applied under the guidelines in Fiscal Year 2003.  Or, put differently, these tables show all the enhancements in FY 2003 that, unless based on facts found by a jury or admitted by the defendant, were imposed in violation of the Sixth Amendment rights applied in Blakely and Booker.

The USSC's release of this data now is quite peculiar and also tantalizing.  Might it suggest the USSC is actively considering whether the guidelines could be "Blakely-ized"?  Might it suggest that an interested person in the legislative or executive branch has sought the release of this data?  Or might it suggest that the USSC is still focused on now-dated Blakely-related data issues when the USSC should be more concerned with more pressing Booker-related data issues (such as those outlined in my formal letter to the USSC or in my Booker data wish list)?

December 28, 2005 at 06:19 PM | Permalink

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