|1984 ||Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 |
Part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, the Sentencing Reform Act is signed into law by President Reagan on October 12, 1984.
|1985 ||The U.S. Sentencing Commission meets for the first time in October 1985. |
|1987 ||The sentencing guidelines take effect on November 1, 1987. |
|1989 ||Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361 (1989) |
The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the U.S. Sentencing Commission as an independent agency in the judicial branch.
|2000 ||Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) |
The Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires that “other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The decision primarily affects sentences for convictions in drug cases, since the maximum penalties in those cases vary depending on the type and amount of drugs involved.
|2002 ||Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002) |
The Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial extends to the determination of any fact, other than a prior conviction, that increases the maximum punishment for first-degree murder from life imprisonment to death.
|2004 ||Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004) |
The Supreme Court held that judicial application of an enhanced range under the Washington state guidelines violated the defendant’s right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment.
|2005 ||U.S. v. Booker and U.S. v. Fanfan, 543 U.S. 220 (2005) |
The Supreme Court held in the consolidated cases of U.S. v. Booker and U.S. v. Fanfan that mandatory application of the federal sentencing guidelines violated the defendant’s right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment. The Court remedied the Sixth Amendment violation by making the guidelines advisory, and instructed the appellate courts to review sentences for “reasonableness.”
|2007 ||Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338 (2007) |
The Supreme Court held that a court of appeals may apply a presumption of reasonableness to a district court sentence within the guidelines.
|2007 ||Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38 (2007) |
The Supreme Court stated that the district court should begin all sentencing proceedings by correctly calculating the applicable guideline range. Furthermore, the Court held that courts of appeals must review all sentences—whether inside, just outside, or significantly outside the guideline range—under a deferential abuse of discretion standard.
|2007 ||Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. 85 (2007) |
The Supreme Court ruled that a district judge must include the guideline range in the array of factors warranting consideration at sentencing, but the court may consider the disparity between the guidelines’ treatment of crack and powder offenses in determining the sentence.