Daycare worker charged with murder in death of 8-month-old girl

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. sentencing guidelines need an overhaul

U.S. sentencing guidelines need an overhaul

Sentencing is one of the most significant acts exercised in a society, as it determines whether and how the liberty of another is to be restricted. For most of American history, federal judges possessed almost unlimited discretion in sentencing, as long as the sentences they handed down fell within established — and generally wide — statutory limits.

This individual discretion led to sentencing disparities throughout the country, and even within the same districts, and spurred Congress to eventually introduce uniformity. In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency within the federal judiciary, and charged it with establishing sentencing...