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December 13, 2005

Oh data, data, data, I now have lots of clay...

And when I have more time, with data I shall play! 

Pardon the lousy effort to add a little musical holiday spirit to this post; I'm punchy after a long day.  And yet, I now have new energy because the US Sentencing Commission on its website has just made available this fascinating 32-page data report with selected federal sentencing data for Fiscal Year 2004.  Here's how the USSC describes its (Blakely-impacted) latest data release:

The Commission has released selected data for Fiscal Year 2004. More comprehensive data will be released soon in the Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report and SourceBook.

The following information is divided into three sets of tables to reflect the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Blakely, which was handed down on June 24, 2004.  Table 2 and 3 report information based on all cases sentenced during fiscal year 2004 (October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004). The remainder of the information is divided into two sets of identical tables (Table 10, 11, 13, 16, 26 and 26A). The tables in each section are numbered identically with subtitles that indicate the relevant time period (pre-Blakely and post-Blakely).  Because of this distinction, the reader should review carefully the subtitle to ensure that the correct time period is being referenced. The first set of tables are based solely on pre-Blakely cases, which include cases sentenced on October 1, 2003 through June 24, 2004. The second set of tables are based solely on post-Blakely cases, including cases sentenced on June 25, 2004 through September 30, 2004.

As previously highlighted in this post and many others about post-Booker sentencing data, perhaps the most important story for the future of federal sentencing is not what the data say, but what various key players (and especially the USSC and the Justice Department) say about the data.  So, what everyone makes out of the raw clay data that the USSC has now given is the big story that is still in development.

December 13, 2005 at 06:11 PM | Permalink


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Thank you for the great musical link! It was not only a good effort, but a successful one at that. The report needs a musical score.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Dec 13, 2005 6:25:05 PM

I am an attorney and I represent someone who was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day on June 13, 2005 in MN Federal District Court. No Rule 35 Motion or Appeal was filed. Sentence was made pursuant to a guilty plea. The judge is willing to change the sentence to home confinement. Is there any statutory authority or something that can give the judge jurisdiction to change this sentence? Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you. Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Klein | Dec 13, 2005 8:56:26 PM

A Judge's authority to modify a sentence of imprisonment once it is imposed is very limited. Rule (35) (Substantial Asst.), motion by the Bureau of Prisons if defendant at least 70 years old, or if the Sentencing Commission has lowered a sentencing range. For more details please see 18 U.S.C. 3582(c).

Posted by: steve | Dec 14, 2005 9:33:37 AM

I have used, with the help of nice prosecutors, Rule 35(b)(1)(B). Under this rule, there has to be a showing that the resentencing comports with some statement or policy of the sentencing commission. Normally this is for retroactive amendments, or other changed guidelines. But if you can find a policy statement, and there are lots of them, that support what you want to do, this section provides the court with authority to do so

Posted by: bubba | Dec 15, 2005 10:29:48 AM

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