AP Enterprise: Federal sentences still vary widely

NEDRA PICKLER Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new study shows that federal defendants who do the same crime pay different time depending on their judge.

A database of federal judges that launches Monday shows widely disparate sentences for similar crimes. The findings come 30 years after Congress tried to create fairer results.

An analysis shows the differences don't line up with the party of the president who appointed the judges, despite any impressions that Republicans or Democrats may be tougher or softer on crime.

Sentencing data from the past five years was analyzed for The Associated Press by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Sentences for the same types of crimes vary significantly between judges in the same courthouse. The party of the president who picked a judge is not a good predictor of toughness.