Announcements and Law Updates

A comprehensive discussion of new Ninth Circuit cases, and of other new legal challenges and ideas, can be found on the Ninth Circuit blog. The Ninth Circuit blog contains Federal Defender Jon Sands' weekly Ninth Circuit summaries, interesting new defense challenges and theories posted by AFPDs David Porter and Steve Sady, and the “Case o’ The Week” memos by Federal Defender Steve Kalar. The Ninth Circuit blog is a useful starting place for the latest developments in federal criminal defense.

To search the Ninth Circuit blog use the white search box next to the orange "B," in the upper left hand corner of the site. Note that many blog entries have been tagged by Judge involved or by subject. Clicking on those tags will pull up all blog entries related to that tag entry.

CJA counsel are encouraged to comment on the blog postings – many new ideas have been fleshed out and enhanced by attorney commentary.

Sentencing Commission Report Finds Increases In Sentencing Differences Among Judges In 30 Major Cities

The United States Sentencing Commission released its report titled Intra-City Differences In Federal Sentencing Practices: Federal District Judges in 30 Cities, 2005-2017(link is external).  Here are some of the report's key findings:

  • Overall increases in sentencing differences among judges in 30 major cities since 2005 are consistent with the Commission's findings in its 2012 Booker Report regarding intra-district sentencing differences-- demonstrating that differences persist, 13 years after Booker and six years after the 2012 analysis

  • The Commission's current analysis measured judges' average percent differences from the guideline minimums in their cases in relation to their city's average during three periods between 2005 and 2017. It demonstrated a clear increase in the extent of differences in sentencing practices in a majority of the cities studied following the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Booker and continuing after the Court's 2007 decisions in Gall and Kimbrough. The overall trend continued, although to lesser extent, in the six years following the last period analyzed in the Commission's 2012 Booker Report.

  • Not all of the 30 cities experienced the same changes in differences in sentencing practices since 2005. In some cities, particularly the ones with the largest number of judges, the increases in differences were substantial. However, in other cities, the increases were modest, and a few cities experienced decreases in the extent of sentencing differences among their judges since 2005.

  • In most cities, the length of a defendant's sentence increasingly depends on which judge in the courthouse is assigned to his or her case.