Yesterday, the Supreme Court shot down the Federal sentencing guidelines, which was expected after it overturned the Washington guidelines (patterned on the US Federal system) last June. Andy McCarthy notes:
Bottom line: The guidelines have lost the force of compulsory law, but they have not become irrelevant — at least not yet. For now, they will continue on, but they will literally be guidelines rather than binding commands. Sentencing judges will be made aware of them and obligated to consider them but not compelled to follow them. Judges will once again be relatively free to sentence at the top or bottom of the statute of conviction, regardless of what the guidelines prescribe. But that guidelines prescription, it is clearly hoped, will have considerable influence on judges by standing as a barometer of what is "reasonable."
More coverage (including links to virtually every major newspaper's coverage of the ruling) on Howard Bashman's How Appealing.