2023 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics

Introduction

The data in this report pertain to cases sentenced both before and after the United States Supreme Court’s January 12, 2005, decision in Booker v. United States, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). The tables in this Sourcebook are organized into three sections:
• The first section consists of Tables 1-9, 55-61, and Figures A, B, and M, which contain basic, descriptive statistics for all of FY 2005 (October 1, 2004, through September 30, 2005).
• The second section consists of Tables 10-54, 57-59, and Figures C-M for the pre-Booker period of FY 2005 (October 1, 2004, through January 11, 2005).
• The third section consists of Tables 10-54, 57-59, and Figures C-M for the post-Booker period of FY 2005 (January 12, 2005, through September 30, 2005).

This is the tenth 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 2005 (October 1, 2004, through September 30, 2005, hereinafter “2005”). This Sourcebook together with the 2005 Annual Report constitutes the annual report referenced in 28 U.S.C. § 997, as well as the analysis, recommendations, and accounting to Congress referenced in 28 U.S.C. § 994(w)(3).

On June 24, 2004, the Supreme Court decided Blakely v. Washington1, invalidating a sentence imposed under the state of Washington’s sentencing guidelines statute. The decision held that the judicial application of an enhanced range under the Washington state guidelines violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. The Court stated that it expressed no opinion on the federal sentencing guidelines, which were not before it.2 After the decision, however, federal circuit and district courts voiced varying opinions on the implications of the decision for federal sentencing. The Supreme Court accepted for expedited review two federal sentencing guideline cases, United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan3, to clarify the implications of the decision for the federal sentencing guidelines, and the Commission filed an amicus curiae brief in the case.

On January 12, 2005, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Booker4, applying Blakely to the federal guideline system and determining that the mandatory application of the federal sentencing guidelines violated the right to trial by jury under the Sixth Amendment. The Court remedied the Sixth Amendment violation by excising the provisions in the Sentencing Reform Act that made the federal sentencing guidelines mandatory, thereby converting the mandatory system that had existed for almost 20 years into an advisory one.

The Commission continued its statutory mission to collect data on sentencing decisions both before and after Booker. In 2005, the Commission received documentation on 72,462 cases sentenced under the guidelines. The Commission coded and assimilated the information from these sentencings into its comprehensive, computerized data collection system. Of these, 53,674 cases were sentenced after the Supreme Court decision in Booker.

Because Booker generated differences in sentencing practices and procedures, the Commission decided to create two datasets analyzing the federal sentences imposed in 2005. The first dataset contains cases sentenced between October 1, 2004, and January 11, 2005, the day before the Booker decision. During this period before Booker but following Blakely, courts arrived at different conclusions regarding the continued viability of the guidelines or did not apply those guidelines in a uniform fashion. In Booker, the Supreme Court instructed courts to consider the guidelines, but “tailor the sentence in light of other statutory concerns.” This instruction necessitated changes in the methodology used by the Commission in the collection and analysis of the data. Thus, the post-Booker dataset uses the new methodology to classify cases sentenced from January 12, 2005, through September 30, 2005.

Background

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)(12) and (14) through (16) inclusive).

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 28 U.S.C. § 994(w) (as amended by section 401(h) of the PROTECT Act, which became effective April 30, 2003), each chief judge of a district is required to ensure that within 30 days after entry of judgment in a criminal case, the sentencing court submits a report of sentence to the Commission that includes: (1) the judgment and commitment order; (2) the statement of reasons (including the reasons for any departures); (3) any plea agreement; (4) the indictment or other charging document; (5) the presentence report; and (6) any other information the Commission needs.

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 data collection 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) and the Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center.6

Datafiles

<p>For each case in its <strong>Offender Dataset</strong>, the Commission routinely collects case identifiers, sentencing data, demographic variables, statutory information, the complete range of court guideline decisions, and departure information. Throughout 2005, the Commission continued to add data elements to its extensive computerized datafile on defendants sentenced under the guidelines. In addition to its standard data collection, the Commission often codes additional variables to study various discrete issues (e.g., drug offenses, criminal history).</p><p>The Commission’s 2005 USSC Offender Dataset contains documentation on 72,462 cases sentenced under the Sentencing Reform Act between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2005. A “case” is defined as one sentencing event for an individual defendant.</p><p>The <strong>Organizational Dataset</strong> captures information on organizations sentenced under Chapter Eight of the guidelines. The Commission collects available data on organizational structure, size, and economic viability; offense of conviction; mode of adjudication; sanctions imposed (including probation and court-ordered compliance programs); and application of the sentencing guidelines. The Commission received information on 187 organizations that were sentenced under Chapter Eight of the sentencing guidelines in 2005.</p><p>While the 2005 reporting year includes cases sentenced between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2005, it is important to note that the offender and organizational data collected and analyzed in the <em>2005 Annual Report</em> and <em>2005 Sourcebook of Sentencing Statistics</em> reflect only cases reported to the Commission (i.e., guidelines cases for which the courts forwarded appropriate documentation to the Commission).</p><p>The <strong>Appeals Dataset</strong> tracks appellate review of sentencing decisions. Information captured in this module includes district, circuit, date of opinion, sentencing issues, and the appellate court’s disposition.<sup>7</sup> The Commission also tracks final opinions and orders, both published and unpublished, in federal criminal appeals. In 2005, the Commission gathered information on 7,813 appellate court 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><p><sup>1</sup> 542 U.S. 296 (2004)<br /> <sup>2</sup><em>Id</em>. at 304, n.9.<br /> <sup>3</sup> 542 U.S. 956 (2004).<br /> <sup>4</sup> 543 U.S. 220 (2005).<br /> <sup>5</sup><em> Id</em>. at 245.<br /> <sup>6</sup> Commission datasets can be accessed using the Internet address http://www.ICPSR.umich.edu/ or http://fjsrc.urban.org/index.cfm.<br /> <sup>7</sup> In 1992, the Commission implemented a data collection system to track appellate review of sentencing decisions. Each fiscal year, data collection for appellate review is accomplished by a three-step method. First, many appellate courts submit slip opinions of both published and unpublished opinions and orders directly to the Commission. The Commission creates a master list of these opinions as they are received. Second, the Commission performs a supplemental computer search for all published and unpublished opinions and orders using commercially available legal databases, and adds any available decisions not received directly from the courts to the master list. Last, because courts do not submit all relevant opinions and orders to commercially available legal databases, the Commission checks individual court websites and adds any available cases from the fiscal year. This three-step method may not provide the Commission with all of the appellate sentencing decisions rendered in a fiscal year. The Commission’s Appeals Database, therefore, may not report the universe of appellate decisions rendered in that fiscal year.</p>

Tables and Figures

Departures and Sentences Within the Guideline Range (Post-Booker)

Appendix A

Selected Sentencing Statistics by District - Pre-Booker
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Selected Sentencing Statistics by District - Post-Booker
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