Judicial Attitudes Regarding Long-term Criminal Sentencing

A majority of 62 percent of federal judges believe that mandatory minimum sentences for various federal crimes are too high.  The results come from a recent survey of the federal judiciary by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on federal sentencing practices under the advisory guidelines system that has been in effect since 2005.  Mandatory minimum sentences reflect the opinion of a significant number of judges whom sentenced offenders in 2008 and 2009.  The 639 judges who participated in the survey handed down nearly 80 percent of the nearly 150,000 sentences imposed during those two years, the Sentencing Commission reported.  The judges participating in the survey also represented 68 percent of the 942 judges to whom the survey was sent. 

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