Federal Judges Call For Simpler Sentencing Guidelines


The U.S. Sentencing Commission should work to simplify federal guidelines and keep them advisory, rather than return to a mandatory system, a group of federal judges said yesterday, reports Bloomberg News. The seven-member commission should work with Congress to create a “politically viable” plan to simplify the sentencing rules, which are “ridiculed” in other countries, said Judge Jon Newman of he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin of Manhattan, who recently sentenced Bernard Madoff to a 150-year prison terms, said that under a Supreme Court ruling making the guidelines advisory, “We have more flexibility to do what we are supposed to do — to judge — and we are not limited to merely applying mechanical rules and doing mathematical calculations.” Dissenting was Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. He argued that the high court ruling on guidelines has increased sentencing disparities and that it invites judges to improperly apply personal and policy views when imposing a sentence.

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