Sentencing Guidelines

Sentencing Guidelines in the United States

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Legal Materials

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines (a/k/a “Sentencing Guidelines for the United States Courts”) are published as part of Title 18 of the United States Code (see “United States Code.”). The Guidelines are also published in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual.

In addition, the current Guidelines are searchable on Lexis (GENFED;GLINE) and Westlaw (FCJ-FSG). You can pull sections from Lexis using the format: “ussg x” .

More information about the Guidelines is posted by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Case Law: Case law annotations are published after each section of the Guidelines in the United State Code Annotated and the United States Code Service, as well as inWest’s Federal Sentencing Guidelines Digest. For full-text searching, Lexis offers a database of cases interpreting the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (CRIME;FEDSEN).

Historical Editions: The U.S. Sentencing Commission posts free historical editions of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual back to 1987. Westlaw has historical editions of the Manual back to 1997 (FCJ-FSG-OLD). You can get annotated historical editions in outdated volumes of the United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service and the related databases on Lexis and Westlaw (see “United States Code”).

Organizational Guidelines: The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSG0) are codified as Chapter 8 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual. More information is available on U.S. Sentencing Commission’s the Organizational Guidelines page.

Proposed As: The U.S. Sentencing Commission posts Proposed Amendments.

Pardons: For information on Presidential Pardons, see “Criminal Law.”

Treatises: For a discussion of the Guidelines check out Federal Sentencing Law and Practice (West) and/or the Federal Sentencing Reporter, both of which are on Westlaw (FSLP and FCJ-FSR, respectively).

Sentencing Guidelines and the State Laws

Select from the list of U.S. States below for state-specific information on Sentencing Guidelines:


Introduction to Sentencing

Besides Sentencing Guidelines, there are some information about U.S. Sentencing here.


See Also

Crime Statistics
Criminal Law
Prisons, Prisoners and Jails
United States Code
United States Sentencing Commission

Further Reading

Sentencing Guidelines in the Criminal Justice System

This section covers the topics below related with Sentencing Guidelines :


Sentencing and Sanctions


See Also

  • Courts
  • Sentencing and Sanctions

Sentencing Guidelines Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

A set of rules and principles established by the United States Sentencing Commission that trial judges use as one factor to consider when they determine the sentence for a convicted defendant.

Sentencing guidelines

Find more information on Sentencing guidelines in relation to the Export Administration System in the legal Encyclopedias.

Sentencing guidelines and the International Trade Law


See Also

Further Reading

  • Sentencing guidelines entry in the Dictionary of International Trade Law (Raj Bhala)
  • Sentencing guidelines entry in the Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History (Thomas Carson; Mary Bonk)
  • Sentencing guidelines entry in the Dictionary of International Trade
  • Sentencing guidelines entry in the Dictionary of International Trade: Handbook of the Global Trade Community (Edward G. Hinkelman)

Sentencing Guidelines: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Sentencing Guidelines. This part provides references, in relation to Sentencing Guidelines, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Sentencing Guidelines by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Sentencing Guidelines and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Sentencing Guidelines or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Sentencing Guidelines and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Sentencing Guidelines. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Sentencing Guidelines should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Sentencing Guidelines when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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