Tuesday, May 12, 2015

(Very Nearly) 6 out of 10 Federal Judges Agree: Chapter Seven Stinks

More from Kirk --

We wrote yesterday about the problems inherent in the supervised release guideline. Dan has covered similar topics again and again. You know who agrees with us? Federal district court Judges.

In a survey released a few months ago, the Sentencing Commission asked federal district Judges about their views of the revocation guideline. Chapter Seven was widely panned.

59% agreed that Chapter Seven should be significantly revised.

82% believed that the client’s criminal history category should be recalculated under Chapter Four, instead of using the criminal history category applied at the original sentencing.

94% want specific sanctions short of incarceration to be incorporated into the guideline.

The idea of graduated sanctions short of a BOP commitment is especially intriguing. The National Institute of Justice has validated that short jail sentences for violations of release conditions are a superior way to ensure compliance with the conditions of release. This model has been successfully replicated by other jurisdictions.

Three takeaway thoughts. First, the majority of federal judges disagree with how we are conducting revocation hearings. Second, if prior convictions have timed out, recalculate the client’s criminal history. And third, let’s try something that doesn’t require a BOP commitment. Graduated sanctions with short jail visits have proven to be much more effective. Fashion something creative.

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