David Kopel on federal setencing guidelines proposal
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Kopel has posted a link to his paper on pending legislation to change the Federal sentencing guidelines. Very interesting material. I thought the original sentencing guidelines were a pile of Draconian trash, and Dave makes a strong argument that the replacement legislation is considerably worse.
Back when I was at Interior, the law enforcement types were lobbying the commission to get sentences for the offenses they went after (mostly rather minor) increased. The motivation was NOT a belief that more punishment was appropriate. Rather, it was an understanding that federal prosecutors used the number of guideline points to assess how serious a case was -- if the offense added up to twenty points, a busy US Atty was more likely to take it than if they added up to ten or twelve. I know of one case where a similar move was made through Congress, and the LEs tesified quite frankly that they wanted certain things made felonies because US Attorneys wouldn't take them as misdemeanors, they just sounded so insignificant. Nothing like justice!