This is the fourth and final post in a series on different concerns about federal sentencing. Previous posts looked at the potential for judges to impose unfairly high sentences on celebrity defendants and the fact that some judges ignore prosecutors' plea deals, perhaps to send a message.
While federal criminal defendants are entitled to jury trials regarding whether they are guilty, the judge ultimately decides what penalty is appropriate. In the third post of our four-part series on federal sentencing, we will look at another recent high-profile case in which the judge dramatically overshot the prosecutor's recommendation.
This is the second post in a four-part series that looks at some recent headline-grabbing stories in the world of federal sentencing. Although various limits and recommendations exist to help guide sentence decisions, federal judges are ultimately empowered to choose an appropriate punishment. That discretion is sometimes a tool for carefully tailored justice - but it also raises serious concerns in other cases.
Several high-profile stories are drawing renewed attention to the ways in which federal judges impose prison sentences in some cases. Despite decades of efforts to reduce unfair differences and the large degree of variation between apparently similar cases in front of different judges, serious concerns still exist with the sentencing system.