Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do the Sentencing Guidelines Matter Anymore - Relevance of Madoff

This blog is principally targeted to the Tax Fraud class that Larry Campagna and I teach at UH Law School but other blog readers may also find the linked document related to the unfolding Madoff saga interesting.

The Sentencing Guidelines provide recommended sentences based on factors that the U.S. Sentencing Commission deem relevant to the sentencing process. The sentencing judge determines the presence or absence of the factors, each of which have some number assigned to them by the Guidelines (larger translates into more sentence). The judge sums the numbers and then reviews a grid chart which offers an indicated guideline sentencing range. These Guidelines sentencing ranges are now, post-Booker, guidelines only and the judge may deviate from them in his or her discretion. The sentence may be reviewed on appeal for reasonableness.

The Government sent Bernie Madoff a letter making its preliminary assessment of the likely sentencing and other related punishments he will suffer on the charges to which he will plead this morning. The letter may be reviewed here.

And, although off the specific topic of sentencing, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog has here the plea allocution that Madoff read today when he made his guilty plea.

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