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By Jack King
NACDL News columns.
Federal judges continue to impose the most severe sentences ever imposed. It is no longer drug kingpins who are being sentenced to 10 and 20 years in prison or more. Persons convicted of fraud and other nonviolent offenses are also being imprisoned for terms once reserved for the most violent offenders. Whereas once, more than half of federal defendants might expect to receive a sentence of probation, today nearly all can expect to be sent to prison. The majority of federal cases continue to be sentenced in conformance with the “advisory” federal sentencing guidelines, a report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on March 14 says.
After the Supreme Court decided United States v. Booker,1 many federal criminal justice experts predicted that federal sentencing practices would not be significantly affected, despite federal judges’ greater discretionary power to sentence outside the guidelines range. In light of these findings, the real question is whether federal judges are adherin
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