Federal Sentencing Study
Professor David Zlotnick
Roger Williams University School of Law
Since the Fall of 2002, I have undertaken to study judicial dissatisfaction with the sentencing laws in effect during the mandatory Guidelines era. After interviewing scores of judges, corresponding with hundreds of inmates, and gathering thousands of documents, I have written a lengthy Report that details my findings. In addition to the Report, this website contains profiles of forty Republican appointees and at least one case in which each of these judges stated his or her disagreement with the sentence required by law from the bench. Only cases where reliable documents, such as the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (“PSI”) and the Sentencing Transcript, were available were considered.


My initial objective was to profile judges appointed by both Republican and Democratic presidents. However, given the harsh rhetoric directed at the federal judiciary by sentencing hawks over the past twenty years, I eventually chose to focus primarily on Republican judicial appointees. Appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George H. Bush, the conservative credentials of these judges are unimpeachable. Thus, their voices should provide a counter-weight to politicians who insist that those who oppose draconian, mandatory sentencing schemes must be soft on crime. By undermining the myth of a liberal judiciary, I hope to help clear the path for meaningful and bipartisan sentencing policy reform.


This website currently contains my final Report, Republican Appointees and Judicial Discretion: Cases Studies From the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Era, a brief description of my methodology, the forty profiles presented as web pages and as pdf documents, additional statements by Republican appointees that did not result in complete profiles, and law review articles that I have recently published on this topic including, The Future of Federal Sentencing Policy: Learning Lessons from Republican Appointees in the Guidelines Era, 79 U. Colo. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2007) and The War within the War on Crime: The Congressional Assault on Sentencing Policy, 57 SMU L. Rev. 211 (2004). Additional content and more profiles of both Republican and Democratic appointees with be added over time. Intro Only