After the Implosion: Trailing-Edge Guidelines for a New Era
Mark William Osler
University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)
April 30, 2009
Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Forthcoming
This short article argues that the federal sentencing guidelines are both unprincipled and unstable (and certainly unloved) as currently constructed. The author suggests that the current leading-edge guidelines, in which advised sentences are fixed by a commission which leads judges to a sentence, be replaced by trailing-edge guidelines, in which the advisory baseline sentence would be created through a real-time electronic survey of judges' current practices in similar cases. Trailing-edge guidelines could provide uniformity and maintain the procedure of the current system while giving judges more discretion both in individual cases and in the way their decisions shape the guidelines themselves.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: sentencing, guidelines, sentencing guidelines, criminal law, federal
JEL Classification: K14
Date posted: April 30, 2009 ; Last revised: January 26, 2010
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