New rules will make it easier for federal judges to consider criminal defendants’ military service, age, and mental and emotional conditions in determining more lenient prison sentences, rerepots the Wall Street Journal. The change were issued by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which develops advisory guidelines that most federal judges use to calculate sentences.
As a result of the changes, effective Nov. 1, some defendants could receive a get of several months or several years, said Mauro Wolfe, a former federal prosecutor now a defense attorney in New York. Previously the sentencing commission said factors such as age and military service “are not ordinarily relevant in determining” whether a lower sentence is warranted. Congress is unlikely to block the changes, said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University. Berman said the changes were significant because historically most guidelines amendments by the commission have called for increases, not decreases, in sentence length.