The DC Sentencing Commission is pleased to announce the release of its 2017 Annual Report. The report can be viewed at 2017 Annual Report
The 2017 Annual Report presents information on felony sentences imposed between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017.
A few of the key findings contained in the 2017 Annual Report include:
1. The number of counts, cases, and offenders increased for a second consecutive year, following a steady decrease from 2010-2015 (page 18).
2. Increases in the number of Drug offenses sentenced, followed by increases in Weapon offenses, contributed significantly to the overall increase in counts and cases in 2017. (pages 28 and 29). Attempted Drug offenses appear to be the primary drug offense contributing to the increase in Drug offenses (page 39).
3. In 2017, the number of cases disposed of through jury trials, reached its lowest percentage (5.8%) since 2010, while the percentage of cases disposed of through pleas reached its highest percentage (93.5%) for the same time period (page 19).
4. The percentage of cases resulting in a prison sentence increased for the first time since 2010 (page 20).
5. Prison was the most frequent sentence type in all offense severity groups, except D3 and D4, which are the least severe offense groups on the Drug Grid (page 21).
6. Half of all felony cases and 70% of non-drug cases sentenced were either Violent or Weapon offenses (page 25).
7. The percentage of Property and Drug cases sentenced to probation decreased for the first time since 2013. Between 2016 and 2017, the percentage of Property cases sentenced to probation decreased 14 percentage points, while Drug cases decreased by 12 percentage points (page 27).
8. The 46 Homicide counts sentenced in 2017 represent the lowest number of homicide sentences imposed since 2010 (page 30).
9. The percentage of female offenders sentenced increased from 8% in 2016 to 10% in 2017 (page 31).
10. Violent and Drug offenses were the most common offenses sentenced for both genders at the case level (page 32).
11. Offenders between the ages of 18 and 30 accounted for 58% of all offenders sentenced (page 34).
12. Young Black males (of ages 18 to 30) constituted more than half of the sentences in 2017 at the count-, case-, and offender-level which is consistent with prior years (page 36).
13. In 2017, 97.2% of all felony counts sentenced were compliant with the Guidelines (page 45). 93% of sentences were Compliant in the Box (page 47).
14. Of the 27 compliant departure factors cited by judges in 2017, 25 were mitigating departures and 2 were aggravating departures (page 50).
The Commission hopes you find the 2017 Annual Report both informative and useful in understanding sentencing patterns within the District of Columbia.