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June 1, 2011

Interesting new federal sentencing data to mine from USSC

I am pleased to see that the US Sentencing Commission has now already posted another round of fresh new sentencing data on its website.  The USSC's latest data report, which can be accessed here, is described this way:

Second Quarter FY11 Quarterly Sentencing Update: An extensive set of tables and charts presenting fiscal year quarterly data on cases in which the offender was sentenced during the first half of fiscal year 2011. The report also provides an analysis of sentencing trends over five years for several key sentencing practices.

The new data continue to show remarkable stability in the operation and application of the advisory federal guideline sentencing system: these data show, yet again, that around 55% of all federal sentences are within the calculated guidelines range, with prosecutors requesting a below-range sentence in over 25% of all cases. 

Interestingly, the latest quarter of data reveal an apparent nadir in the percent of within-guideline sentences (53.5%) driven by a record high percent of government-sponsored below-guideline sentences (27.2%).  The latest data also show that in the first half of FY11, only just over one-third of all child porn sentences are within-guidelines (36.8%) while over 60% involve  government-sponsored (18.6%) or judge-initiated (42.8%) below-guideline sentences.  This further reinforces my view that, generally speaking, in a mine-run case a below-guideline sentence rather than a within-guideline sentence complies with the 3553(a)(6) statutory instruction to sentencing judges to avoid unwarranted disparities.

June 1, 2011 at 04:28 PM | Permalink

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