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June 22, 2008

Deconstructing the federal career offender guidelines

As noted here, the federal defenders' first paper in its important "Deconstructing the Guidelines" project addressed the child porn guidelines (and has already been cited by a district court to justify a below-guideline sentence).  I now see that a second paper has now been posted, and it is titled "Deconstructing the Career Offender Guideline."  This extraordinary paper runs 50 pages, and can be accessed here along with helpful appendices.  Here is part of the paper's introduction:

The career offender guideline does not reflect “empirical data and national experience” and “do[es] not exemplify the Commission’s exercise of its characteristic institutional role.” Kimbrough, 128 S. Ct. at 575....

Part II (pp. 32-42) describes a variety of evidence demonstrating that the [career offender] guideline produces punishment that is greater than necessary to satisfy any purpose of sentencing, and that creates unwarranted disparities, including racial disparity, and unwarranted uniformity, while being more costly today than projected in 1987 due to the Commission’s substantial expansion of the career offender category.  The evidence consists of the Commission’s own critical findings, available sentencing data, judicial decisions, and some data on the growth of the career offender population.

June 22, 2008 at 05:21 PM | Permalink


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