In an article for Law360, Michael Yaeger, a white collar defense lawyer and former prosecutor, writes that the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s new tool for analyzing sentencing statistics is “deeply flawed.” Earlier this year, the Sentencing Commission released the Judiciary Sentencing INformation platform, called JSIN for short, which was designed to allow attorneys to review sentencing data for defendants based on their charges of conviction, their offense level, and their criminal history category. A user simply plugs in the applicable Guideline provision (i.e. 2B1.1 vs 2D1.1), the offense level, and the criminal history category, and JSIN provides the median and average sentence for defendants who meet those same criteria and who were sentenced in the last 5 years.
While the new data tool is great in concept, Yaeger writes that it creates a “misleading picture of sentencing” because the average and median federal sentences provided by JSIN does not include sentences of probation and home confinement and omits sentences where a defendant received a downward departure for cooperating under USSG 5K1.1. At the same time, JSIN includes above-Guidelines sentences and sentences imposed pursuant to a mandatory minimum. The effect, Yaeger writes, is painting a picture of sentencing that reflects higher sentences than are actually being imposed.
Click here to read the article on Law360.