GOAL: Departures from the recommended sentences established in the guidelines are articulated in writing and made only when circumstances or factors reasonably justify the aggravation or mitigation of the sentence. F.S. 921.001(4)(a)6.
FACT: Of the 113,547 scoresheets received with sentence dates in FY 1996-97, the courts deviated from the guidelines structure in 13.6% of the cases (14,561 mitigated and 870 aggravated, 15,431 total deviations).
NOTES: An offender's score determines from which of three categories he will be sentenced.
However, the courts may depart from the guidelines structure if a written reason justifying the departure is provided (see sample of scoresheet with attached departure list in the Appendix). A deviation may occur in the non-state prison category (aggravation) or the state prison category (mitigation). Departure information may be recorded on the scoresheet or may be filed in writing in some other manner within 7 days of sentencing.
A true mitigation occurs when an offender scores more than 52.0 total points and either receives a non-state prison sanction or a state prison sentence length less than the 25% permissible downward discretion existing within the guidelines. A sanction mitigation occurs when an offender scores more than 52.0 total points, but receives a non-state prison sanction.
NOTE: The number of cases in many areas is extremely small. Percentages are given, but the may be misleading if numbers are less than 20.
|Mitigation Rates Among Offenders Scoring in|
|Recommended State Prison Sanction Category*|
|Fiscal Year 1996-97|
|Category||Number||Percent||Average Mitigated Length in Months|
|*Total points exceeding 52.0.|