When a person is convicted of a federal crime, a judge determines the person's sentence based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines can be quite strict, especially for white collar crimes, and they do not give a sentencing judge much discretion about what type of sentence a defendant should receive.
This month, the U.S. sentencing guidelines changed in an important way that will affect many older Americans convicted of white-collar crimes. The guidelines changed in a way that gives sentencing judges more latitude in considering a defendant's age when assigning a sentence.