Last week, a Jamaican from Pennsylvania had his sentence for illegal re-entry by a deported felon from 70 to 41 months in prison. “I thought the guideline was too stiff,” said U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik afterward, reports the Scranton (Pa.) Times-Tribune. The resentencing was the result of January’s Supreme Court ruling that made federal sentencing guidelines advisory.
Statistics show only moderate sentence variations since the ruling. “I certainly think there was a fear that judges would go crazy within their discretion, although I think that was overstated,” said Ohio State law Prof. Douglas Berman. In the federal 3rd Circuit, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands, 17 percent of the 1,116 recent sentences were outside guideline classifications, including 18 above the range and 171 below it, commission data show. “The sentences under the guidelines are pretty severe,” said U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy. “Most of the sentences resemble very closely what would happen under the guidelines.” Conaboy added: “Right now, we're under a lot of fire in the federal courts. There's almost a hatred for us. They don't trust the courts.”