U. S. Sentencing Commission'’s 1999 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics

Introduction

This is the fourth edition of the United States Sentencing Commission's Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics. This Sourcebook contains descriptive statistics on the application of the federal sentencing guidelines and provides selected district, circuit, and national sentencing data. The volume covers fiscal year 1999 (October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999, hereinafter "1999").

The Commission collects and analyzes data on guideline sentences to support its varied activities. As authorized by Congress, the Commission's numerous research responsibilities include: (1) the establishment of a research and development program to serve as a clearinghouse and information center for the collection, preparation, and dissemination of information on federal sentencing practices; (2) the publication of data concerning the sentencing process; (3) the systematic collection and dissemination of information concerning sentences actually imposed and the relationship of such sentences to the factors set forth in section 3553(a) of title 18, United States Code; and (4) the systematic collection and dissemination of information regarding the effectiveness of sentences imposed (28 U.S.C. § 995(a)).

The Sentencing Commission maintains a comprehensive, computerized data collection system which forms the basis for its clearinghouse of federal sentencing information and which, in large part, drives the agency's research mission. Pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C. §§ 994(w) and 995(a)(8), and after discussions with the Judicial Conference Committee on Criminal Law and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the Commission requested that each probation office in each judicial district submit the following documents on every offender sentenced under the guidelines:

  • Indictment
  • Presentence Report (PSR)
  • Report on the Sentencing Hearing (statement of reasons for imposing sentence as required by 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c))
  • Written Plea Agreement (if applicable)
  • Judgment of Conviction

Data from these documents are extracted and coded for input into various databases. It should be noted that data collection is a dynamic rather than a static process. When research questions arise, the Commission either analyzes existing data or adds information to its monitoring system.

The Commission's computerized datasets, without individual identifiers, are available via tape and the Internet through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan (ICPSR). Using the Internet address http://www.ICPSR.umich.edu/NACJD Commission datasets can be accessed.

Summary

The volume covers fiscal year 1999 (October 1, 1998, through September 30, 1999, hereinafter "1999").

Datasets

<h3> Offender Dataset</h3><p>For each case in its Offender Dataset, the Commission routinely collects case identifiers, sentencing data, demographic variables, statutory information, the complete range of court guideline decisions, and departure information. Throughout 1999, the Commission continued to add data elements to its extensive computerized datafile on defendants sentenced under the guidelines.</p><p>The Commission's 1999 USSC Offender Dataset contains documentation on 55,557 cases sentenced under the Sentencing Reform Act between October 1, 1998, and September 30, 1999. A "case" is defined as one sentencing event for an individual defendant. While the 1999 reporting year includes cases sentenced between October 1, 1998, and September 30, 1999, it is important to note that the data collected and analyzed in the 1999 Annual Report and 1999 Sourcebook of Sentencing Statistics reflect only cases reported to the Commission (i.e., guidelines cases for which the courts forwarded appropriate documentation to the Commission). Consequently, if a court fails to forward documentation on a case to the Commission, the agency will not have a record of that particular sentencing. This reliance on physical receipt of court records by the Commission allows for three potential areas of guideline case underreporting: (1) court failure to submit case documentation; (2) a misunderstanding of the types of cases to be submitted; and (3) cases lost in-transit between a court and the Commission.</p><h3> Organizational Dataset</h3><p>The Organizational Dataset captures information on organizations sentenced under Chapter Eight of the guidelines. The data collected describe organizational structure, size, and economic viability; offense of conviction; mode of adjudication; sanctions imposed; and application of the sentencing guidelines. The Commission received information on 255 organizations that were sentenced under Chapter Eight of the sentencing guidelines in 1999.</p><h3> Appeals Dataset</h3><p>The Appeals Dataset tracks appellate review of sentencing decisions. Information captured in this module includes district, circuit, dates of appeal and opinion, legal issues, and the court's disposition. In addition to its standard data collection, the Commission often codes additional variables to study various discrete issues (e.g., immigration offenses, child sex offenses). The Commission also tracks final opinions and orders, both published and unpublished, in federal criminal appeals. During 1999, the Commission supplemented these opinions and orders with cases available on computerized legal databases and with habeas corpus decisions (although technically civil matters) because such cases often involve sentencing issues. In 1999, the Commission gathered information on 6,641 appellate court cases of which 2,492 were "conviction only" cases.</p><p>The appeals data system uses both the "group" and the "defendant" units of analysis. Each group comprises individual records representing all codefendants participating in a consolidated appeal. Each defendant's record comprises the sentencing-related issues corresponding to that particular defendant. These records, linked together by a unique Commission-assigned appeals identification number, constitute a single group.</p><hr />

Contents

Circuit and District Statistics
Table 1
Document Submission Rate of Each Circuit and District
Table 2
Guideline Offenders in Each Circuit and District

Primary Offense and Offender Characteristics
Figure A
Distribution of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 3
Guideline Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Figure B
Number of Guideline Offenders in Selected Offense Types
Table 4
Race of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 5
Gender of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 6
Age Of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 7
Age Race and Gender of Offenders
Table 8
Education of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 9
Citizenship of Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Figure C
Guilty Pleas and Trial Rates
Table 10
Guilty Pleas and Trials in Each Circuit and District
Table 11
Guilty Pleas and Trials in Each Primary Offense Category

Sentencing Information
Figure D
Distribution of Offenders Receiving Sentencing Options
Table 12
Offenders Receiving Sentencing Options in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 13
Average Sentence Length in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 14
Average Length of Imprisonment for Offenders in Each Criminal History Category by Primary Offense Category
Figure E
Average Length of Imprisonment in Each General Crime Category
Table 15
Offenders Receiving Fines and Restitution in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 16
Type of Sentence Imposed on Offenders in Each Sentencing Zone
Figure F
Imprisonment of Offenders Eligible for Non-prison Sentences in Selected Offense Types

Guideline Application
Table 17
Offenders Sentenced for Each Chapter Two Guideline
Table 18
Offenders Receiving Each Chapter Three Guideline Adjustment
Table 19
Offenders Receiving Acceptance of Responsibility Reductions in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 20
Offenders Receiving Chapter Four Criminal History Points
Table 21
Offenders in Each Offense Level and Criminal History Category
Table 22
Offenders Receiving Career Offender Armed Career Criminal Adjustments in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 23
Offenders in Each Guideline Sentencing Range

Departures and Sentences Within the Guideline Range
Figure G
Percent of Offenders Receiving Each Type of Departure
Table 24
Reasons Given by Sentencing Courts for Upward Departures
Table 25
Reasons Given by Sentencing Courts for Downward Departures
Table 26
Guideline Departure Rate by Circuit and District
Table 27
Offenders Receiving Departures Within Each Primary Offense Category
Table 28
Offenders Receiving Departures in Each Primary Sentencing Guideline
Table 29
Within-Range Cases Position of Sentence for Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Figure H
Position of Sentence Within Sentencing Range for Selected Offenses
Table 30
Substantial Assistance Cases Degree of Departure for Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 31
Downward Departure Cases Degree of Departure for Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category
Table 32
Upward Departure Cases Degree of Departure for Offenders in Each Primary Offense Category

Drug Cases
Figure I
Distribution of Guideline Drug Offenses
Table 33
Primary Drug Type of Offenders Sentenced Under Each Drug Guideline
Table 34
Race of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 35
Gender of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 36
Citizenship of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 37
Criminal History Category of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 38
Plea and Trial Rates of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 39
Weapon Involvement of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 40
Role Adjustment of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 41
Acceptance of Responsibility of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Table 42
Mean and Median Drug Amounts (In Grams) for Selected Base Offense Levels and Drug Types
Table 43
Drug Offenders Receiving Mandatory Minimums for Each Drug Type
Table 44
Drug Offenders Receiving Safety Valve and Mandatory Minimums for Each Drug Type
Table 45
Drug Offenders Receiving Departures for Each Drug Type
Figure J
Average Length of Imprisonment for Each Drug Type
Figure K
Number of Drug Offenders for Each Drug Type
Figure L
Mean Length of Imprisonment for Each Drug Type

Immigration Cases
Table 46
Demographic and Offense Information for Immigration Offenses
Table 47
Age of Offenders Sentenced Under Immigration Guidelines
Table 48
Citizenship of Offenders Sentenced Under Immigration Guidelines
Table 49
Criminal History Category and Citizenship of Offenders Sentenced Under Immigration Guidelines
Table 50
Mean and Median Sentences of Offenders Sentenced under Immigration Guidelines by Departure Status

Organizational Sentencing Practices
Table 51
Organizations Receiving Fines or Restitution by Primary Offense Category and Applicability of Chapter Eight Fine Guidelines
Table 52
Mean and Median Fine or Restitution Imposed on Sentenced Organization by Primary Offense Category and Applicability of Chapter Eight Fine Guidelines
Table 53
Fine and Restitution Imposed by Primary Offense Category on Sentenced Organizations
Table 54
Organizations Sentenced Under Chapter Eight Culpability Factors

Sentencing Appeals
Table 55
Types of Appeal in Each Circuit and District
Figure M
Type and Disposition of Appeals Cases
Table 56
Disposition of Sentencing Appeals in Each Circuit and District
Table 57
Guideline Involved in Issues Appealed by the Defendants
Table 58
Guideline Involved in Issues Appealed by the Government
Table 59
Sentencing Issues Appealed for Selected Guidelines
Table 60
Offense and Offender Characteristics of Appeals Defendants
Table 61
Average Length of Imprisonment for Appeals Defendants in Each Primary Offense Category

Appendix A
Descriptions of Datafiles Variables and Footnotes

Appendix B
Selected Sentencing Statistics by District
National
Alaska
Alabama Middle
Alabama Northern
Alabama Southern
Arkansas Eastern
Arkansas Western
Arizona
California Central
California Eastern
California Northern
California Southern
Colorado
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Delaware
Florida Middle
Florida Northern
Florida Southern
Georgia Middle
Georgia Northern
Georgia Southern
Hawaii
Iowa Northern
Iowa Southern
Idaho
Illinois Central
Illinois Northern
Illinois Southern
Indiana Northern
Indiana Southern
Kansas
Kentucky Eastern
Kentucky Western
Louisiana Eastern
Louisiana Middle
Louisiana Western
Massachusetts
Maryland
Maine
Michigan Eastern
Michigan Western
Minnesota
Missouri Eastern
Missouri Western
Mississippi Northern
Mississippi Southern
Montana
North Carolina Eastern
North Carolina Middle
North Carolina Western
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
Northern Mariana Islands
Nevada
New York Eastern
New York Northern
New York Southern
New York Western
Ohio Northern
Ohio Southern
Oklahoma Eastern
Oklahoma Northern
Oklahoma Western
Oregon
Pennsylvania Eastern
Pennsylvania Middle
Pennsylvania Western
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee Eastern
Tennessee Middle
Tennessee Western
Texas Eastern
Texas Northern
Texas Southern
Texas Western
Utah
Virginia Eastern
Virginia Western
Virgin Islands
Vermont
Washington Eastern
Washington Western
Wisconsin Eastern
Wisconsin Western
West Virginia Northern
West Virginia Southern
Wyoming