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NCJ Number: 135684 Find in a Library
Title: Departure From the Guidelines: The Frolic and Detour of the Circuits; How the Circuit Courts Are Undermining The Purposes of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Journal: Dickinson Law Review  Volume:94  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1990)  Pages:605-635
Author(s): J F Jackson
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article contends that the Federal circuit courts disagree on the proper standard of review for the analysis of departures from the sentencing guidelines and have thus failed to develop any uniform system of application.
Abstract: A review of relevant decisions by the First, Second, Third, Fifth, and Sixth Circuit Courts concludes that only the Third Circuit Court's review focused on the guideline factors and whether or not those factors had already adequately considered the conduct cited by the sentencing judge as justification for departure from the guidelines. The bulk of the court's decision in United States v. Uca (1989) was an analysis of each factor the lower court used to depart from the guidelines and the relationship of those factors to the applicable guidelines. When the guideline covers the conduct in question, the analysis is complete, and any departure is unwarranted and is considered unreasonable. Although departures under this strict approach will be rare, they will still be possible. The Third Circuit Court's approach, however, is not the current trend. Other circuit courts reviewed were apparently willing to grant trial judges broad discretion in sentencing, to the point that the guidelines had little meaning. Without a reasonable, workable method by which to determine when and how much to depart from the guidelines, the courts will frequently depart from them. The Congress and the Sentencing Commission should act quickly to address this issue, since the U.S. Supreme Court is apparently not disposed to accept certiorari in an appropriate case. 208 footnotes
Main Term(s): Judicial discretion; Sentencing guideline compliance
Index Term(s): Appellate court decisions; Federal courts
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