Louis Serrano got a two-year prison term for stealing from the New Orleans public schools. He would have received more time had it not been for last week’s Supreme Court ruling on sentencing guidelines, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The paper quotes U.S. District Court Judge Jay Zainey as saying he would have given Serrano a stiffer sentence.
In New Orleans, where the federal judiciary has a docket full of political corruption and white-collar crime cases, judges may relish their new latitude to launch offenders for longer stretches. In 2001, federal courts issued sentences less severe than the guidelines in 35 percent of about 55,000 cases examined, while fewer than 1 percent were upward departures.