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Prioritizing Policy Before Practice After Booker

Prioritizing Policy Before Practice After Booker What should Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission do in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker?1 They should lead a public discussion to reevaluate the wisdom of the policy judgments embodied in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The sentencing debate following Booker has centered on what procedures and institutions ought to be engaged in sentencing. Commentators and legislators have asked whether sentence determinations are best left to the discretion of individual judges or whether a mandatory sentencing scheme enacted through legislation is necessary. The most prominent feature of the debate has been whether judicial discretion has led or will lead to too many sentences imposed outside of the Guideline range or to disparate sentences among offenders.2 But the debate has neglected an important predicate: whether adherence to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, as presently formulated, is desirable. It is important that this issue be evaluated prior to any legislative Booker “fix,” because such a fix will almost certainly involve the enactment of (and, thus, the reaffirmance of) the Guidelines. When Congress passed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984,3 the Act was hailed as an important victory for sentencing http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Federal Sentencing Reporter University of California Press

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