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http://ssrn.com/abstract=301579
 
 

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National Uniformity/Local Uniformity: Reconsidering the Use of Departures to Reduce Federal-State Sentencing Disparities


Michael M. O'Hear


Marquette University - Law School; Independent


Iowa Law Review, Volume 87, No. 2, March 2002

Abstract:     
A wide range of crimes may be prosecuted in either state court or federal court. A successful federal prosecution typically results in a much longer sentence than would a state prosecution. The disparity between state and federal sentences raises at least two major concerns. First, a federal prosecution may be undertaken in lieu of state prosecution as a result of random chance, vindictiveness, bias, or other questionable considerations. In such cases, the imposition of a relatively harsh federal sentence may appear arbitrary. Second, the imposition of relatively harsh federal sentences may circumvent the criminal justice policy preferences of state and local communities. In light of these concerns, the author proposes that federal judges consider state sentencing laws when deciding whether to depart downward from the presumptive ranges specified in the federal sentencing guidelines. The author suggests a set of criteria to identify those cases for which departure on the basis of federal-state disparities would be most appropriate.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Departures, Sentencing Laws, Federal-state Disparities

JEL Classification: K14

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Date posted: November 29, 2003  

Suggested Citation

O'Hear, Michael M., National Uniformity/Local Uniformity: Reconsidering the Use of Departures to Reduce Federal-State Sentencing Disparities. Iowa Law Review, Volume 87, No. 2, March 2002. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=301579

Contact Information

Michael M. O'Hear (Contact Author)
Marquette University - Law School ( email )
Sensenbrenner Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
414-288-3587 (Phone)
414-288-5914 (Fax)
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
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