The Truth In Sentencing: A Critical Look at the Federal Sentencing Process
Cherry, Richard O.
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Many people who are involved in the federal criminal justice system do not fully understand the Sentencing Guidelines. The Sentencing Guidelines are a group of rules that judges have to follow when sentencing. An organization made especially for this piece of legislation, The Sentencing Commission, actually made up the rules that constitute the Guidelines. These Guidelines were supposed to help the courts achieve uniformity in sentencing. Unfortunately, it achieved its goal a little too well. Congress also passed additional legislation to coincide with the Guidelines in order to aid in the "war on crime." Congress used these Guidelines and mandatory minimum statues in an effort to win the "war on drugs." Since the implementation of the Guidelines, Congress has had an active role in the federal judicial process outside of making the laws that the courts interpret. Most judges, defense attorneys, and offenders do not particularly care for the Guidelines and most of the mandatory minimum statues. Judges are at the forefront of this group. But it is the politicians who have the final say on this issue. This paper will examine why politicians are involved in the area of sentencing and the effect that this has had on the criminal justice system as a whole.