Individuality in sentencing is a hallmark of true justice. The United States Sentencing Commission, which provides for uniformity through a series of detailed guidelines, recognized the need for individuality in sentencing by allowing for discretionary departures. Though the Sentencing Guidelines provide some direction regarding departures, the Commission did not take all factors that may be relevant into account when developing the guidelines. Section I of this article describes the sentencing systems in effect in the United States both before and after the adoption of the Sentencing Guidelines. Section II discusses the types of departure grounds, explains when a non-enumerated ground for departure may be appropriate in light of Koon, and suggests general characteristics that appear to underlie successful non-enumerated departures. Section III concludes that departures will be more common-place after Koon and encourages attorneys to be imaginative when exploring potential grounds for departure.

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