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We Told You So

The sentence a convicted defendant receives should depend on what he did and what he has done before, not which judge he draws.  The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 was the product of a rare bipartisan consensus on criminal law that judge-to-judge disparity had gone too far and needed to be reined in.  The Supreme Court threw out the key element of that reform, mandatory sentencing guidelines, in the Booker case in 2005.  We didn't need to be clairvoyant to predict what would happen.

Jonathan Saltzman reports in the Boston Globe:

Since the US Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentencing guidelines five years ago in a landmark ruling, the difference in the average sentences of the most lenient and most severe federal judges in Boston has widened, according to a new study that says the trend threatens to undermine fairness.

Now that the guidelines are only advisory, the three most lenient jurists impose average prison sentences of slightly more than two years for all crimes, said the study in the Stanford Law Review published this week. The two toughest impose average sentences double that.

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