Post-Booker Sentencing Still Frustrates Defense Bar

September 27, 2010 – In The News

Since the 2005 ruling in United States v. Booker, which gave federal judges greater sentencing discretion, judges have refrained from dramatically reducing prison sentences. Federal sentencing guidelines, applied in the mid-1980s to promote uniformity in sentencing and ensure sentences better reflect the severity of offenses, consider factors such as a defendant’s conduct and criminal history.

Patrick Egan said judges may be even more reluctant to depart from the guidelines with an all-time high of media attention and public outrage over crimes such as the ones perpetrated by Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and the leaders of Enron Corp. “In a high-profile case, a judge has to have an incredible amount of fortitude” to sentence a defendant according to the minimum of the guideline or allow a variance, said Egan.