Over the past few decades, white-collar crimes have significantly increased across the country, especially in Ohio. However, Ohio’s judges are ill-equipped to handle the influx of cases. Unlike federal judges who are guided by the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Ohio’s judges have significantly more sentencing discretion because the Ohio legislature provides minimal guidance for these crimes. As a result, Ohio’s white-collar criminal defendants are experiencing dramatic sentencing variations. To solve this problem, Ohio should look to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and neighboring states to adopt and create an innovative sentencing model tailored to white-collar crime. Unlike the federal system, Ohio fails to utilize a matrix style grid—which provides notice and uniformity in sentencing. In addition, Ohio should adopt the Federal Sentencing Guideline’s loss threshold amounts for white-collar crimes because the ranges in Ohio are too wide and, thereby, impose a longer sentence. The smaller ranges used by the federal government helps reduce prison terms while providing notice and uniformity to judges, practitioners, defendants, and the public. Pennsylvania, Ohio’s neighboring state, also created unique and tailored sentencing matrices for specific criminal conduct. A tailored sentencing matrix that focuses on white-collar crime would better adapt the sentence to the criminal defendant’s wrongdoing. Although the Federal Sentencing Guidelines have been criticized, they offer visible and uniform benefits that Ohio severely lacks for white-collar criminal defendants. If Ohio turns a blind eye to these sentencing disparities, a white-collar criminal defendant’s sentence is left to the mercy of a system with unfettered judicial discretion and arbitrary sentences.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines: A Guideline to Remedy Ohio's Sentencing Disparities for White-Collar Criminal Defendants,
68 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol68/iss2/9