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Sentencing: Guidelines

Origins Of Sentencing Commissions And Guidelines, Design Features Of Guideline Structures, Guideline Grids, Guidelines For Intermediate Punishments

"Sentencing guidelines" are rules or recommendations created by judges or an expert administrative agency, usually called a "sentencing commission," which are intended to influence, channel, or even dictate the punishment decisions made by trial courts in individual cases. Since the early 1970s, commission-based guideline structures have emerged as the principal alternative to traditional practices of "indeterminate sentencing," under which judges and parole boards hold unguided and unreviewable discretion within broad ranges of statutorily authorized penalties. Sentencing guidelines in operation have varied widely in their form, content, legal authority, and even in their nomenclature. (Not all guidelines are called guidelines.) It is thus treacherous to assume that "all guidelines are created equal."

KEVIN R. REITZ

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law