Friday, February 11, 2005

Judges Still Following Sentencing Guidelines, Survey Says

Here's the opening lines, which tell most of the story (click on the post title to go to the article):
Most federal judges are imposing prison terms within sentencing guidelines even
though the Supreme Court says they do not need to, according to an analysis
presented Thursday to Congress. At the same congressional hearing,
however, a high-ranking Justice Department official described anecdotal evidence
that judges are imposing disparate sentences for similar crimes since last
month's high court ruling - precisely what the nearly 20-year-old guidelines
were intended to prevent. The two views on how judges are responding to
the decision reflect differences in Congress and the legal community about
whether to write new sentencing rules and, if so, how quickly. Just 9 percent of the 733 sentences handed down in the three weeks after the Supreme Court decision and reviewed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission did not comply with the guidelines, said U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of Texas, the commission chairman.