October 5, 2009
If you build good guidelines, judges will followThe title of this post seems to be the message of this local article discussing data on how frequently state judges in Pennsylvania sentence within applicable state sentencing guidelines. Here are some of the details from an interesting (and all-too-rare) press discussion of state sentencing patterns:
There were 101,576 criminal sentences handed down in Pennsylvania courtrooms in 2008, and 1,530 of them were imposed by judges in the four Valley courts, according to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing’s annual report.
Statewide, about 90 percent of the sentences meted out to convicted offenders conformed with the guidelines and 5 percent were shorter than suggested by the guidelines. In the Valley, the rate ranged from 92 percent conformity in Northumberland County to 98 percent in Montour County.
Judge William H. Wiest, one of three judges in Northumberland County, said he follows the state’s recommendations almost all the time because “they are well thought out, fair and reasonable.” Wiest said he’d like to see the guidelines broadened to allow judges the option of meting out harsher sentences.
After 11 years on the bench, he’d like to see the state increase its recommended sentencing for first-time drug sale offenders from a maximum of three months in jail to a maximum of seven months and allow more leeway in sentencing convicted drunken drivers. “I’d like a greater range of discretion,” he said....
Martin Wilson, assistant district attorney in Union County, said the creation of statewide sentencing guidelines helped level the playing field and ensured offenders in Philadelphia would face the same penalties as an offender who commits the same crime in the rural city of Sunbury. “They definitely served a valuable service in an effort to be consistent,” he said.
October 5, 2009 at 04:11 PM | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference If you build good guidelines, judges will follow:
If you have bad judges, they will not follow good guidelines, because the pro-criminal Supreme Court has made these good guidelines discretionary.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 5, 2009 7:34:23 PM
ah, supremacy clause, you don't notice that the happy people in the part of the article quoted are the prosecutors and the judge who wishes he could go higher. only more punishment is enough for you. well, maybe not enough, but keeps you in a lower state of agitation
Posted by: big bad wolf | Oct 5, 2009 11:55:40 PM
I support neither higher nor less punishment. I support safety and accuracy. I want career violent criminals off the streets permanently. I want innocent people kept out of prison. The lawyer can manage to do neither. He is looking out only for himself.
If easy to do, he has no problem with the high innocence rate in the death penalty and other convictions. And the lawyer has immunized 99% of violent crimes. These result in absolutely no consequence to the repeat offender, committing dozens of crimes a year.
Where the lawyer lives? The death penalty is immediate and on the spot, at the scene of the crime.
One cannot even verbally criticize the criminal without being called names and sued. The criminal law is in utter failure.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 6, 2009 12:19:16 AM