Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes, and Guidelines, Third Edition

A leading text in criminal law, co-authored by leading scholars in the field, Sentencing Law and Policy draws from extensive sources to present a comprehensive overview of all aspects of criminal sentencing. Online integration with sentencing commissions, thorough treatment of current case law, and provocative notes and questions, stimulate students to consider connections between disparate institutions and examine the purposes and politics of the criminal justice system.

The Third Edition has been updated to include recent developments in sentencing case law and provocative discussions of policy debates across a wide range of topics, including discretion in sentencing, race, death penalty abolition, state sentencing guidelines, second-look policies, the impact of new technologies, drug courts and much more.

Key Features:

  • Authors are among the leading sentencing scholars in the United States. Demleitner and Berman are editors of the leading sentencing journal, Federal Sentencing Reporter. Berman is the blog master of the leading sentencing blog, with huge readership.
  • Intuitive organization tracks the process that occurs in every criminal sentencing.
  • Each chapter draws on the most relevant examples from three distinct sentencing worlds: guideline-determinate, indeterminate, and capital.
  • Wide-ranging source materials, including:
    • U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
    • Cases from state high courts, federal appellate courts, and foreign jurisdictions.
    • Statutes and guidelines provisions.
    • Reports and data from sentencing commissions and other agencies.
  • Problems and questions in text are integrated with websites of sentencing commissions, such as the site for the U.S. Sentencing Commissions (
  • Challenging questions ask students to compare institutions and consider the connections between specific sentencing rules and the purposes and politics of criminal justice, emphasizing the effects of sentencing.
  • Notes tell students directly what are the most common practices in U.S. jurisdictions.
  • Instructors’ website ( provides the Teacher’s Manual—available only electronically on the site— with additional teaching materials to be posted as needed.

Thoroughly updated, the revised Third Edition includes:

  • New Supreme Court cases, including Gall, Kimbrough, Padilla (6th Amendment), and Kennedy (child rape sentencing limits).
  • Policy debates over mass incarceration, the relevance of the budget crisis, and the state-level variation in deincarceration.
  • Shifting authority among key actors in the crack penalty/crack reform debate, including the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA).
  • Expanded core study of discretion in sentencing and attention to race in sentencing, with a close study of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act and the emergence of “racial impact statements” about existing systems and proposed legislation ina number of states.
  • Death penalty abolition.
  • Developments in state sentencing guidelines, noting stand-still in new states, and the relevance of the ALI MPC project.
  • Emergence of “second look” policy discussions, the troubled debate over the theory, operation and impact of parole systems, and the “supervised release” that has come to replace traditional parole.
  • Discussion of new technologies, developments in restitution , including the policy debate over restitution for child porn victims from downloaders, and federal and state involvement in sex offender registration.
  • Discussion of the relative mystery of drug courts and a new and fascinating alternative court for veterans.
  • Criminal/civil alternatives for responding to banking, financial, white collar and environmental harms.
  • Discussion of the literature and policy debates over the virtual abolition of noncapital habeas, the increased use and costs of civil commitment , and the virtual abolition of clemency in the federal system and most states.






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Fundamentals of Criminal Practice: Law and Procedure
Fundamentals of Criminal Practice: Law and Procedure