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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136362 Find in a Library
Title: Flexibility and Discretion Available to the Sentencing Judge Under the Guidelines Regime
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:55  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1991)  Pages:10-15
Author(s): E R Becker
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Federal sentencing guidelines have restricted judicial sentencing discretion, and many judges and probation officers feel the guidelines have made it difficult to administer just sentences.
Abstract: Even though the guidelines have curtailed sentencing discretion, the author believes the guidelines still contain considerable flexibility. The most widely recognized avenue of flexibility is the sentencing judge's ability to depart from the prescribed sentencing range. Another area of discretion lies in the judge's fact-finding role and the deference due the judge in applying the law to the facts. To take advantage of the flexibility in the guidelines, judges and probation officers should move away from viewing the guidelines as a totally mechanical scheme. Instead, the focus should be on rigorous analysis of the law and careful development of the facts. It is pointed out that flexibility has a price: the often considerable time and energy involved in developing a record, in making detailed fact findings, and in carefully analyzing governing statutes and their intersection with the guidelines. 40 footnotes
Main Term(s): Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Judicial discretion; Probation effectiveness; Probation or parole officers; Sentence effectiveness
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