The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska is the only court, or at least that’s what I have been told, that regularly publishes each judge’s individual sentencing statistics. We have been doing so since 2007.
These statistics are prepared by the Sentencing Commission at the request of each judge of our court. If for no other reason, I am proud of our judges for being utterly transparent on this subject. And that is true notwithstanding the fact that I am told by a person with intimate knowledge of such things that our practice is very annoying to a fair number of judges in other districts.
Keep in mind that our court is very busy when it comes to criminal cases. On a per-judge basis, we rank 8th in the nation for criminal felony cases and 7th in the nation for supervised release violations. (See here, click on “Judicial Caseload Profiles for Nebraska and All District Courts for the 12-Month Period Ending September 30, 2016.”)
Anyway, we now have our per-judge sentencing numbers for fiscal 2015 and 2016. I have prepared eight tables that I reproduce below. Those tables provide an overview of the sentencing data presented to us by the Commission. What I would like from readers of Simple Justice is straightforward. What do the following tables show to you? After I see those comments, a subsequent post (Part 2) will follow. Part 2 will contain my thoughts on what the data show or do not show. I will also react to comments in Part 2.
Again, what do the following tables reveal to you?
District of Nebraska: Sentencing Statistics for fiscal years 2015 and 2016
(Excludes one active district judge who was recently appointed.)
Table 1–Sentences in months; all cases (n.1,132 (Nebraska))
Table 2-Drug Trafficking Cases (n. 446)
Table 3-Child Pornography (n.74)
Table 4-Fraud (n.127)
Table 5-Immigration (n.219) (Nebraska has long been a “fast track” district.)
Table 6-Firearms (n.110)
Table 7-Compliance with Guidelines-Departures and Variances (n. 1,130)
|Position relative to Guideline range||National|
Table 8-As a percent, average extent of reduction of sentence for below Guideline sentences measured from low-end of applicable Guideline range (the “sentencing discount”)
|All below cases||49.2%||50.4%||45.1%||50.6%||51.9%||49.4%||64.2%|
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)
 In tables 7 and 8, “Gov’t below”: (a) includes §5K1.1 Substantial Assistance Departures, §5K3.1 Early Disposition Program Departures and other government-sponsored below-range sentences; (b) does not include Rule 35 reductions for cooperation with the government that take place after sentencing. “Judge below” data do not include Rule 35 reductions either.