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Manslaughter Working Greport, Report to the Commission

NCJ Number
P O Barron; A C Dorhoffer; R L Dummett; J E Jones; A A Meltzer; R S Singer
Date Published
53 pages
The U.S. Sentencing Commission established a working group in 1997 to study voluntary and involuntary manslaughter sentencing guidelines, primarily to determine whether current guideline penalties were appropriate for manslaughter relative to other violent offenses.
The working group was asked to consider whether current base offense levels adequately accounted for the variety, severity, and ranges of offense behaviors; whether specific offense characteristics or other changes were needed to capture certain offense behaviors; and whether the commission should change statutory penalties. Principal findings are detailed with respect to commission monitoring data and case information, inter-jurisdictional comparisons, differences between manslaughter and other violent offense sentencing guidelines, differences between statutory maximum penalties for manslaughter and other violent offenses, and a probation officers survey. Options related to voluntary manslaughter are identified as increased statutory maximum penalties, base offense level increases, changes with respect to specific offense characteristics, and supervised release. Options related to involuntary manslaughter include base offense level increases, changes with respect to specific offense characteristics, and strategies for deterring drunk drivers. Additional information and data on sentencing of offenders convicted of manslaughter are provided in appendixes. Tables and figures