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Exposé on sentencing disparity in Wisconsin: how harshly does your judge sentence?

GannettWisconsin.com has posted an extensive study of sentencing in Wisconsin during 2005-2014. Click here for “Scales of Justice or Roulette Wheel?” Investigative reporters extracted data from CCAP and created searchable databases that allow the user to see: (1) on a scale of 1 to 10 how harshly a particular judge sentences for certain crimes compared to other judges in his/her county and in the state, (2) the average sentences imposes for certain types of crime, and (3) how often substitution requests were filed against any given judge in felony cases. The study highlights the startling inequalities in sentencing in Wisconsin and argues that some sort of sentencing commission or guidelines are necessary to improve consistency.

The searchable database can indeed answer the question “how harshly does the judge assigned to your case sentence?”–at least for certain categories of crimes. That’s, of course, very useful information for defense counsel. Given that GannettWisconsin’s database is public, expect clients to use it and ask you about it.

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