Practically, what does this mean?
It means that I can be very accurate in determining what your federal sentence is going to be if you are convicted in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi. As I have stated before, federal court is different than state court. In federal court, the sentencing battle is sometimes as big as the trial itself.
A recent study shows that the Judges of the District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi - there are 11 in all - tend to sentence a convicted Defendant within the guideline range recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Commission at least 80.7 percent of the time.
At the heart of federal sentencing is 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), which states that a federal judge must impose a sentence that is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary” to:
- reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense;
- afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
- protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
- provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner.
In order to accomplish these objectives, the statute lists a number of considerations, and one of them is “the applicable category of offense committed by the applicable category of defendant as set forth in the guidelines issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4). For a period of time, these guidelines were mandatory on federal judges, until the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2005 that the mandatory application of the federal sentencing guidelines violated the right to trial by jury under the Sixth Amendment.
Since that decision in 2005, federal courts have been virtually all over the map in determining how these guidelines are to factor into a federal sentence. A detailed treatment of this struggle is available here. Suffice it to say that statistically the Southern District of Mississippi holds the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in high regard. Your lawyer in your federal case must be experienced and well-versed with the guidelines in order to find the variances, the downward departures, and the arguments for favorable treatment so that you will spend the least amount of time locked up as possible.
If you are facing federal criminal charges give me a call at 601-991-1099, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your initial consultation won’t cost anything. Let’s try to win your case first, but if that is not possible let’s go through the guidelines to try to achieve the best possible result for you.