USING THE SENTENCING COMMISSION REVIEW TABLE FOR UNIQUE SENTENCING ARGUMENTS

Many thanks to Amy Baron-Evans for this unique argument at federal sentencing for clients showing the court the effects of disparity of sentences for similar acts and there respective recidivism rates. As defense lawyers in the Middle District of Florida are aware these arguments typically are met with indifference by our local Judges; however, its great to throw in as an additional point where a Judge is leaning in your direction anyway and is searching for any reason to reduce the sentence – say, within the framework of the personal characteristics of your client:


The Commission’s Fifteen Year Review reports that the recidivism rate of defendants sentenced as career offenders based on prior drug offenses “more closely resembles” the recidivism rate for offenders in the otherwise applicable criminal history category.  See U.S. Sent’g Comm’n, Fifteen Years of Guidelines Sentencing:  An Assessment of How Well the Federal Criminal Justice System is Achieving the Goals of Sentencing Reform 133-34 (2004). I just noticed this Table 14 in the Commission’s 2010 Sourcebook. You can find this at the following place —— ——— ——–http://www.ussc.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Annual_Reports_and_Sourcebooks/2010/Table14.pdf  Using it, you could argue that the average sentence for a drug trafficker sentenced as a career offender is 167 months, but for a defendant in criminal history IV, for example, it’s 98.3 months, or 60% of the career offender sentence. Or, for example, if your client’s instant offense is robbery but he is a career offender based on drug priors, the average sentence for a robber sentenced as a career offender is 156.3 months but for a defendant in criminal history IV, it’s 71.5 months, or 45% of the career offender sentence. There are lots of ways you could use this table in career offender and other cases.  It shows average sentence length for primary offenses by criminal history category.