August 16, 2017: Supreme Court upholds Discretionary Federal Prison Sentencing

August 16, 2017

In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court has reaffirmed a sentencing court’s “wide discretion to decide whether the offender should be incarcerated and for how long.” The Supreme Court in Beckles v. United States, 580 U. S. ____ (2017) was faced with a “void for vagueness” challenge to the application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In rejecting that Due Process Clause based challenge the Guidelines, the Court ruled that the United States Sentencing Guidelines “merely guide the exercise of a court’s discretion in choosing an appropriate sentence within the statutory range.” Citing United States v. Booker, 543 U. S. 220, 233 (2005) the court reaffirmed the basic principle of American law that federal judges have broad discretion in imposing a sentence within a statutory range.” Once again, NPSC reiterates the importance of recognizing the court’s discretion and implores federal defendants to investigate and research any and all discretionary factors that a federal court can utilize in determining a sentence based in individual offense and offender characteristics. In many causing federal defendants can avoid federal prison altogether. In obtaining assistance in investigating or researching a potential federal sentence reduction, call National & Sentencing Consultants at 615-696-6153 or email us at