The Severity Of Sentencing Guidelines

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The Severity of Sentencing Guidelines in Relation to the Type of Drug
By: Sunday Saenz
FRNS 5653
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
May 1, 2015 Introduction
An illicit drug is actually just a drug that is being abused illegally. A few examples of some commonly heard of illicit drugs are cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. However, not every illicit drug is actually illegal to possess. Prescription drugs, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine are often taken without being prescribed, which is illegal.
Punishments for an individual’s criminal actions, such as the possession of illicit drugs, have been in place for centuries. However, many people wonder why certain punishments are more severe than others and how a judge makes the final decision of what a sentence may be. In Federal Courts, a sentencing guideline is determined by the individual’s criminal history, severity of the crime, and mitigating factors.1
The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) is responsible for the creation of the federal guidelines that are consistent across the United States . When the guidelines were originally established in the 1960s, judges were required to follow them and not go outside of these guidelines. This did not take into consideration outside factors, such as cooperation or admitting to their crimes. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court decision of Booker v U.S. in 2005 that that changed and judges were able to go above or below these
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