2012 Report to the Congress: Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing

December 2012

This report assesses the continuing impact on the federal sentencing system of the Supreme Court's 2005 opinion in United States v. Booker, which rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory. Part A of the report discusses the history of the federal sentencing guidelines and the post-Booker sentencing and appellate processes. It also reports the results of statistical analyses of federal sentencing data spanning a broad time frame, from October 1995 through September 2011, and provides recommendations for strengthening the federal sentencing guidelines system. Parts B through F contain more detailed descriptions of appellate court decisions, additional charts, tables, and graphs depicting sentencing data, and a description of other stakeholders' proposals for sentencing reform. Appendices to Parts B through F include additional data and tables, summaries of relevant public hearings, and a summary of the Commission's 2010 survey of district judges.

Related Reports:


Part A — Report on the Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing (2012)

Part B — Appellate Review

This Part contains additional Supreme Court and Circuit Court case law, discussion of viewpoints on appellate procedure as expressed in public hearings, case law, and the 2010 survey of district judges, and an analysis of data on sentencing appeals.

Part C — Statistical Analysis of Federal Sentencing Data

Following a description of the Commission's methodology, each sub-section in Part C includes an overview of fiscal year 2011 data, and trend data covering four periods — Koon, PROTECT Act, Booker, and Gall — as well as appendices with additional tables. Selected figures and footnotes as well as the list of appendices are hyperlinked.

Federal Offenses in the Aggregate


Drug Trafficking


Immigration Offenses


Firearms Offenses


Fraud Offenses


Child Pornography Offenses


Career Offenders


Part D — Spread of Non-Government Sponsored Below Range Sentences by Circuit and District

After a brief introduction and explanation of the Commission's methodology, this Part analyzes non-government sponsored below range rates by judge within each of the 94 judicial districts, illustrating the spread in the rates among judges within the same district, and the spread in the extent of the reductions below the guideline minimum. Plots depicting the spread in the rates and the extent of the reductions for each of the 94 districts follow. The list of appendices is hyperlinked.

Part E — Demographic Differences in Sentencing

In this Part, the Commission updates its multivariate regression analysis on demographic differences in sentencing, last published in March 2010, and also presents additional multivariate analyses. Appendices to this Part contain additional data and variables used in the analyses. The list of appendices and corresponding footnotes are hyperlinked.

Part F — Summary of Stakeholder Views on Sentencing Reform

In this Part, the Commission describes other proposals for sentencing reform and summarizes public hearing testimony related to post-Booker sentencing as well as a survey of district judges conducted in 2010. The list of appendices is hyperlinked.