Judges, Prosecutors Drifting Away From U.S. Sentencing Guidelines


Quarterly federal sentencing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission show remarkable stability in trends in the application of the advisory federal guideline sentencing system, says Ohio State University law Prof. Doug Berman. Prosecutors and judges moving just a little further away from the guidelines, with now 55 percent of all federal sentences are within the calculated guidelines range; prosecutors are requesting a below-range sentence in more than 26 percent of all cases.

Berman believes the latest numbers suggest that the new Obama judges and new Obama U.S. Attorneys may be “very slowly but very surely’ continuing to help the federal sentencing system drift away from the anchors established in the federal guidelines, which were declared advisory by the Supreme Court in 2005 after having been mandatory since the late 1980s.

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