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July 21, 2009

US Sentencing Commission's "Overview of Statutory Mandatory Minimum Sentencing"

As previously noted here, the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security last week held a hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences."  Now I just discovered that the US Sentencing Commission's website has posted this new lengthy document which is titled "Overview of Statutory Mandatory Minimum Sentencing."  Here is how the USSC describes the document on its website's front-page:

On July 10, 2009, the Commission provided a statistical overview of statutory mandatory minimum sentencing using fiscal year 2008 data to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in light of its July 14, 2009 hearing entitled "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences."

Here is how the document itself starts:

The Commission has identified at least 171 individual mandatory minimum provisions currently in the federal criminal statutes.  In the Commission’s fiscal year 2008 datafile, there were 31,239 counts of conviction that carried a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.  Because an offender may be sentenced for multiple counts of conviction that carry mandatory minimum penalties, these 31,239 counts of conviction exceed the total number of offenders (21,023 offenders, as reported below) who were convicted of statutes carrying such penalties.

Of these 31,239 counts of conviction, the overwhelming majority (90.7%) were for drug offenses (24,789 counts of conviction, or 79.4%) and firearms offenses (3,527 counts of conviction, or 11.3%).  Most of the 171 mandatory minimum provisions rarely, if ever, were used in fiscal year 2008, with 68 such provisions not used at all.

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July 21, 2009 at 04:08 PM | Permalink


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