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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69044 Find in a Library
Title: DUE PROCESS AT SENTENCING - AN EMPIRICAL AND LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE REPORTS IN FEDERAL COURT
Journal: HARVARD LAW REVIEW  Volume:93  Issue:8  Dated:(JUNE 1980)  Pages:1615-1697
Author(s): S A FENNELL; W N HALL
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 85
Sponsoring Agency: Federal Judicial Ctr
Washington, DC 20002
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY EXAMINED THE IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF RULE 32(C)(3) OF THE FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; THE RULE REQUIRES THE DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE REPORTS TO THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY UPON REQUEST.
Abstract: THE STUDY'S FIRST STAGE CONSISTED OF A NATIONAL FIELD STUDY INVOLVING INTERVIEWS WITH FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGES AND PROBATION OFFICIALS IN TWENTY DISTRICT COURTS. IN THE STUDY'S SECOND STAGE, QUESTIONNAIRES BASED ON THE FIELD STUDY WERE SENT TO 193 FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGES, ALL 95 CHIEF PROBATION OFFICERS, AND 248 RANDOMLY SELECTED LINE PROBATION OFFICERS. RESPONSES FROM 154 JUDGES IN THE 90 DISTRICTS SURVEYED INDICATED THAT 76 DISTRICTS (84 PERCENT) ACHIEVED DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE REPORTS TO THE DEFENSE IN AT LEAST 75 PERCENT OF THEIR CRIMINAL CASES, RESULTING IN MANY IMPROVEMENTS OF BOTH THE EQUALITY OF THE PRESENTENCE REPORT AND THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE SENTENCING PROCESS. HOWEVER, SIGNIFICANT LIMITATIONS ON A MEANINGFUL DEFENSE RIGHT TO DISCLOSURE AND COMMENTARY RESULT FROM THE METHOD OF DISCLOSURE TO THE DEFENSE, THE INVALID USE OF CONFIDENTIALITY EXCEPTIONS, NONDISCLOSURE OF THE EVALUATIVE SUMMARY AND SENTENCING RECOMMENDATIONS, AND DISCLOSURE PRACTICES TO CORRECTIONAL AGENCIES AND THIRD PARTIES. IN ADDITION, MANY FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGES, FINDING THAT DISCLOSURE CONFLICTS WITH THEIR DECISIONMAKING NEEDS AT SENTENCING, REMOVE THE EVALUATIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS SECTIONS FROM THE PRESENTENCE REPORT BEFORE DISCLOSING IT TO THE DEFENSE. MOREOVER, INCONSISTENT DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE REPORT INFORMATION BY THE COURT TO THE BUREAU OF PRISONS, AND THE PAROLE COMMISSSION MAY INSURE THAT LATER CORRECTIONAL DECISIONS WILL BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE COURT'S INITIAL CORRECTIONAL DECISION. CHANGES ARE RECOMMENDED IN DISCLOSURE PROCEDURES, USE OF CONFIDENTIALITY EXCEPTIONS, RELEASE OF DECISIONMAKING DATA, AND TRANSMISSION OF SENTENCING INFORMATION TO LATER CORRECTIONAL DECISIONMAKERS. A LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE RULE AND EXTENSIVE REFERENCE NOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Access to legal information; Criminal proceedings; District Courts; Federal regulations; Information dissemination; Presentence studies; Studies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69044

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