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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2005

Criminal Law

Criminal procedure

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Regulating Local Variations In Federal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas Oct 2005

Regulating Local Variations In Federal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Though in theory federal criminal law applies uniformly in all places, in practice federal charging, plea bargaining, and sentencing practices vary widely from place to place. Sentencing disparities are good when they reflect local knowledge about local crime problems and concerns. They are bad when they spring from bias, local lawyers' and judges' hostility to national policy choices or perhaps when they reflect disagreement with federal strategies. This Article critiques fast-track programs, which award huge discounts in immigration and drug cases along the southwest border, as bad variation that undermines the ideal of national uniformity. It then considers the wide ...