Under 18 U.S.C. § 3552, the court, upon its own motion or upon the motion of a party, may order a study and report of the defendant prior to sentencing. The report is prepared by a probation officer and includes information about the defendant's characteristics, circumstances, needs, potential for rehabilitation, and the impact of the offense on any victims. The report also includes any prior criminal record and any other relevant information. The statute ensures that the report is disclosed to both the defendant and their attorney, the attorney for the Government, and the court before sentencing. The defendant and their attorney have the right to comment on the report and, subject to the court's discretion, the report may be kept confidential.
18 U.S.C. § 3553 outlines the factors that a judge must consider when imposing a sentence. These factors include the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history and characteristics of the defendant, the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law, provide just punishment, afford adequate deterrence, protect the public, and provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment. The statute also requires the court to consider the kinds of sentences available, the sentencing guidelines, policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission, the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities, and the need to provide restitution to any victims of the offense. The court is not bound by the sentencing guidelines but must consider them and the policy statements, and it must explain any deviation from those guidelines.
According to 18 U.S.C. § 3661, no limitation is placed on the information concerning the background, character, and conduct of a person convicted of an offense that a court may receive and consider for the purpose of imposing an appropriate sentence. This statute supports the comprehensive nature of the presentence investigation report and ensures that judges can consider a wide array of information, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, personal history, and other relevant factors mentioned in the presentence report.
18 U.S.C. § 3559 categorizes criminal offenses into classes ranging from Class A, which are the most serious offenses often punishable by death or life imprisonment, down to Class E felonies and misdemeanors. This classification system is used to determine the statutory maximum penalties for offenses and is a key component in guiding judges during the sentencing phase.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 3771, crime victims are afforded specific rights, including the right to be reasonably protected from the accused, the right to notice of public court proceedings, the right to be heard at proceedings involving release, plea, sentencing, or parole, and the right to full and timely restitution. This statute ensures that victims have a voice in the sentencing process and that their impact statements can be considered by the court.
18 U.S.C. § 3582 governs the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment and the conditions under which a sentence may later be modified. It outlines the factors that should be considered in imposing a term of imprisonment and the authority of the court to change a sentence in cases where the Sentencing Commission lowers the sentencing range for a particular offense, among other circumstances. This statute is important for understanding the court's powers and limitations in sentencing and modifying sentences post-conviction.