The Commission's Legislative Agenda to Restore Mandatory Guidelines
Federal Public and Community Defenders
Thomas W. Hillier II
Federal Public Defender Office, Western District of Washington
April 16, 2013
Federal Sentencing Reporter, Forthcoming
At a point in time when bipartisan Congressional leaders and the Attorney General are joining in a call to address the unsustainable costs and longstanding injustice associated with over-incarceration under mandatory sentencing rules, the United States Sentencing Commission has released a report on the impact of United State v. Booker, calling for a return to the very pre-Booker policies that caused our current crisis. In its rearview report, the Commission sets forth six recommendations to Congress that would constitute a return to a guideline system that is functionally no different than, and every bit as unconstitutional as, the mandatory system struck down in Booker. The proposals would eviscerate judges’ authority to consider the history and characteristics of the defendant and mitigating circumstances of the offense, and would suppress disagreement with the guidelines and policy statements, all contrary to Supreme Court law. If enacted into law, the proposals would result in years of litigation over their constitutionality and wreak havoc with a fully functional sentencing system to which judges, courts of appeals, probation officers, and lawyers have become accustomed over the past eight years.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 17, 2013 ; Last revised: April 26, 2013
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