Saturday, January 14, 2006
According to a Forbes Magazine article here, not much has changed in sentencing despite Booker's allowing court's more sentencing discretion. (See also Professor Doug Berman's Sentencing Blog here). This is not a surprising discovery, as the sentencing culture is ingrained in so many on the judiciary today that there is little likelihood of there being significant departures from the practices used by judges for a significant number of years.
Over time some departures may become prevalent in a particular class of cases. Whether this proves to be white collar crime or crack cases should not be seen by Congress as a need to place more restrictions on the judiciary. Rather, if it is found that one group of cases receives more departures than another group, Congress should use this information to adjust the sentencing range to what the courts find to be reasonable. The departures can be used as an indication of when Congress has imposed draconian sentences that warrant modification downward.
(esp)( w/ a hat tip to Bill Olis for pointing out the Forbes Article).