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March 8, 2005

When will we see more post-Booker data?

A few weeks ago, I was already eager for more post-Booker data.  And now, as we approach the two month anniversary of Booker, my eagerness is evolving into (perhaps unhealthy and unjustified?) impatience.  Were the federal sentencing system operating under "normal" conditions, roughly 10,000 sentences would have been imposed in the two months since Booker.  And thus, even if the system post-Booker is operating only at half its normal speed, we still should have a universe of 5000+ cases (and at least a couple hundred in each circuit) from which to start drawing some preliminary insights.

Moreover, is seems plausible that the federal sentencing system might be back to operating at its "normal" 1,200 sentencing per week clip.  Though the plain-error mess continues to produce interesting circuit case law, I surmise that the district courts are settling into the post-Booker world.  (It is worth recalling here that, as the US Sentencing Commission detailed in a "Preliminary Comparison of Case Submissions in July and August 2003 and 2004" available here, the federal courts still imposed over 10,000 sentences in the confusing two months after Blakely.) 

As noted before, this USSC webpage indicated that the USSC has a public hearing scheduled for April 12, which is (coincidentally?) the exact three-month anniversary of Booker.  I think we could expect more data from the USSC in conjunction with that hearing, but I sincerely hope we get at least of glimpse of the developing sentencing patterns before that time.

March 8, 2005 at 12:51 PM | Permalink


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