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Federal district judges are stuck in a bad marriage with the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines after Booker v. Unittd States. While most of the sentencing debate centers around the struggle over judicial discretion and power to control sentencing outcomes, little attention is given to how poorly we inform the sentencing court's discretion. The information provided to the court at sentencing is lacking and outdated. The Booker Court freed district judges from the "mandatory guideline era" (1988-2005), but also required that district judges continue to calculate, "consult," and explain variances from the applicable guideline range. A sentencing court needs better, competing information to rival the distracting and often misleading Guidelines.


Originally printed in Federal Sentencing Reporter, University of California Press Journals. Copyright 2013, Vera Institute of Justice. Posted with permission.

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