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NCJ Number: 97709 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Federal Offenders - Some Thoughts on the Present and of the Future
Journal: Detroit College of Law Review  Volume:1983  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1983)  Pages:1105-1109
Author(s): A Cohn
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A judge for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, discusses his sentencing decisions and concludes that voluntary guidelines coupled with participation in a sentencing council is the best approach to reducing disparity.
Abstract: Several factors must be considered when sentencing an offender, including the place of custody, the possible security designation, possible errors in the presentence report, the need for observation and study, and the appropriateness of restitution as a condition of probation. Yet the principal question is whether the offender should receive a custodial sentence and how long should that sentence be. A judge may be assisted in a decision by the presentence report and occasionally a sentencing memorandum from the offender's lawyer, letters from friends and relatives, a psychologist's report, and recommendations of colleagues in a sentencing council. Finally, a judge can request monthly reports of all sentences imposed in the District and refer to Federal court reports. Still, in the last analysis, the single most important factor is the judge's informed discretion. A recent effort by Eastern District judges to establish sentencing guidelines for offenders charged with the unauthorized acquisition of food stamps suggests that disparity will always be a problem. Voluntary guidelines and a required consultation with a sentencing council are more likely to reduce disparity than rigid guidelines and a complex bureaucratic structure. Six footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): District Courts; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing factors; Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=97709

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