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September 7, 2011

Newest federal sentencing data run from US Sentencing Commission now available

The US Sentencing Commission has some fresh new federal sentencing data just up on its website. The USSC's latest data report, which can be accessed here, is described this way:

Third 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 third quarter of fiscal year 2011. The report also provides an analysis of sentencing trends over five years for several key sentencing practices. (Published September 6, 2011)

The new data largely show the continued trend of a very slow migration away from guideline ranges, with federal prosecutors, not federal judges, continuing to be the primary driving force behind below-range sentences.  Indeed, the latest quarter of data reveal a record high percent of government-sponsored below-guideline sentences (27.7%), coupled with a relatively low percentage of judge-initiated below-guideline sentences (16.9%) .  

The changes in the latest quarter of data could merely reflect changes in types of cases sentenced: e.g., the processing of relatively more immigration and non-crack drug cases will likely always drive up the relative percentage of government-sponsored below-guideline sentences because fast-track and cooperation departures are much more common that judge-initiated variance in those types of cases.  Nevertheless, there is still an notable patter reflected in all of the last three quarters of data: government-sponsored below-guideline sentences increased roughly 10% over this period, while judge-initiated below-guideline sentences have decreased roughly 10% over this same period.

September 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Permalink


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Sounds like BOTIS needs to change his "judges gone wild" rhetoric to "prosecutors gone wild."

Posted by: 24601 | Sep 7, 2011 1:14:16 PM

24601 --

Sounds like the many defense types here who yelp day after day that "prosecutors are thugs" need to change their rhetoric to "prosecutors are nice."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 7, 2011 2:26:50 PM

guess that puts me in the middle then! since i think a big part of them on BOTH SIDES have went off the reservation years ago! LOL

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 7, 2011 3:44:55 PM

rodsmith --

This is the first time I have seen you in the middle. Well, they say there's a first time for everything!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 7, 2011 3:49:17 PM

I can't speak for others, BOTIS, but this defense type thinks many prosecution types are indeed nice.

Posted by: 24601 | Sep 7, 2011 6:48:01 PM

24601 --

And this prosecution type thinks many defense lawyers are nice. Indeed the great majority who post here are perfectly pleasant, and more than a few are darn smart. None of this is to mention the many I helped train in the art of brief writing a many moons ago when they were starting out as AUSA's.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 7, 2011 11:03:14 PM

i've always been in the middle ...just not as many bad news reports on here about defense attorneys! like i've said before

if yoru breaking the law...i don't care what custome you have on or what job your doing. If it's illegal for me...IT'S ILLEGAL for everyone else....MOST ESPECIALLY MY EMPLOYEES!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 8, 2011 1:21:37 AM

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