Preview: DPI Research on Acquitted Conduct Sentencing

 

Forty states and the District of Columbia either explicitly or implicitly permit the use of acquitted conduct at sentencing. 

 

Only ten states have abolished the practice: Georgia, Hawai’i, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. 


The method of prohibition varies. Georgia, Hawai’i, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, and North Carolina eliminated the practice via court decision; Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington did so via statutory or regulatory sentencing guidelines. The effect of the prohibitions in these ten states also varies depending on the particular sentencing regime the state employs. 


To understand the difficulty that will come with reforming the use of acquitted conduct sentencing at the state level, one needs to understand the various sentencing schemes states employ as state sentencing regimes feature substantial variations in both procedure and substance 

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