Judiciary Sentencing Information Platform Data Could be Beneficial for Defendants

By Sarah Wirskye - On

The United States Sentencing Commission is making sentencing data available through the Judiciary Sentencing Information (JSIN) platform. The JSIN platform is an online sentencing data resource specifically developed with the needs of judges in mind. The platform provides online access to sentencing data for arguably similarly situated defendants. Judiciary Sentencing Information | United States Sentencing Commission (ussc.gov). Thus, this data may be beneficial for defense attorneys to show sentencing disparities and argue for a lower sentence based on a variance. Conversely, prosecutors could utilize this data to argue against a variance.

JSIN provides cumulative data based on five years of sentencing data for offenders sentenced under the same primary guideline and with the same final offense level and criminal history category. JSIN provides statistical information relating to the sentence relative to the guideline range for the selected cell in the sentencing table. After excluding cases involving a §5K1.1 departure, JSIN then compares the proportion of offenders sentenced to a term of imprisonment to those with a non-imprisonment sentence. Finally, JSIN provides the national average and median length of imprisonment and sentence length for offenders with the same offense level and criminal history category.

Certain probation offices across the country have been instructed to include this data in the PSRs. The only district in Texas doing so currently is the Western District Texas. It is possible that other districts’ probation offices may begin using this data also.


Defense attorneys, particularly in jurisdictions with higher sentences, may be able to utilize this data to argue that a lower sentence is appropriate based upon sentencing disparities. For example, Under U.S.S.G. 2.B1.1, other than the low end of the Guidelines, a significant proportion of defendants with criminal history category I received a downward departure or variance resulting in a below Guidelines sentence. Thus, defense counsel should consult this data when drafting their sentencing memoranda to determine if it is beneficial for their client.

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