The below linked document collects the proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary, in the “reader-friendly” form in which they were made available at the public meeting on August 7, 2015. As with all proposed amendments on which a vote to publish for comment has been made but not yet officially submitted to the Federal Register for formal publication, authority to make technical and conforming changes may be exercised and motions to reconsider may be made. Once submitted to the Federal Register, official text of the proposed amendments as submitted will be posted on the Commission’s website at www.ussc.gov and will be available in a forthcoming edition of the Federal Register, and an updated “reader-friendly” version of the proposed amendments as submitted will be posted on the Commission’s website at www.ussc.gov.
The proposed amendment and issues for comment will be subject to a public comment period
running through November 12, 2015. Further information on the submission of public comment will be provided in the forthcoming edition of the Federal Register referred to above. Such information will also be available at www.ussc.gov.
When someone is found guilty of a crime, there is a completely separate hearing in which they are actually sentenced to a specific punishment. Different facts of the case and the individual involved in the case are taken into account at this point to see how a person should be punished for any specific crime. A judge will determine a sentence on the basis of these facts.
Of course, judges are not meant to pick just any sentence for the crime that has been committed. There are federal sentencing guidelines that give them a model for what kinds of crimes are punishable by what kind of a sentence. Judges have to consult these guidelines before choosing a sentence and can determine where in the range of sentences this case falls.
Since the United States is so large and many values and beliefs can vary from one location to the next. This makes it so that it can be a lot more difficult for people to receive a fair sentence that is the same from one location to another. Initially, someone living in one state might get a much larger sentence than someone living somewhere else even after committing a similar crime.
Since this wasn’t very fair, the government decided to set up some guidelines to make sure that judges everywhere has something to structure sentences off of. These sentencing guidelines are used by judges to determine a range of consequences that different actions can have. The judge may choose to vary the sentence based on the severity of the crime.
When trials were being conducted in America initially, judges were able to assign sentences to crimes as they saw fit since there were no guidelines for them to follow. This of course became a problem because if you were tried for a crime in one state you might end up with a very different sentence than you would in another state. This made the system unfair.
Since this was not a fair way to have a federal legal system, the United States had to change the way that they did things. They ended up offering up federal sentencing guidelines which would give judges a range of sentences that would fit certain crimes. These guidelines suggest a range of sentences based on the severity of a crime that is committed.
Historically there was a time when it was possible to be convicted of a crime and punished with any amount of time in jail or any fine that the judge decided upon. Now judges cannot do this because the legal system decided to regulate the way that people were sentenced so that sentencing wasn’t so arbitrary. The government decided on guidelines for the sentences.
These guidelines base the sentence on two different considerations. The sentencing guidelines first consider the crime itself and what happened during the crime to alter the level of crime that this falls into. Then the consideration turns to the criminal history of the person who is being sentenced with a crime in order to raise the punishment for people who have previously been convicted.