A federal judge in Boston declared the federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional yesterday, reports the Associated Press. In several drug cases, U.S. District Judge William Young said the guidelines put too much power in the hands of prosecutors and give judges too little discretion. Young’s criticisms mirror concerns many judges and defense attorneys have expressed about the guidelines, which became effective in 1987.
Young said sentences imposed on five defendants were too high and violated their constitutional right to due process. Young asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to vacate the sentences and order new sentencing hearings.