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Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions
Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library
Sentencing Guidelines Commission
Function: The legislature established the Sentencing Guidelines Commission for the purpose of developing and maintaining rational and consistent sentencing standards which reduce sentencing disparity, increase proportionality in sanctions, and ensure more equitable and uniform sentencing for convicted felons.
The commission presents recommendations to the legislature each year for changes to the sentencing guidelines. The annual report also contains County Attorney Reports on criminal cases involving firearms, and a summary of the Commission's activities during the previous year. In addition, reports are created that detail sentencing practices for various offense categories. These reports are generally completed for offense categories for which frequent questions from criminal justice practitioners arise. Finally, the Commission annually updates and publishes a report on offenses left unranked by the Commission.
Active dates:1978 -
Also known as:
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission
In 1978, Minnesota created the nation's first sentencing guidelines commission. In 1981, Minnesota became the first state to implement a sentencing guidelines structure. In 1981, when the guidelines went into effect, 5,500 felons were sentenced. In 2008, 15,394 felons were sentenced.
The Sentencing Guidelines Commission consists of the following: the chief justice of the Supreme Court or a designee; one judge of the Court of Appeals, appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court; one district court judge appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court; one public defender appointed by the governor upon recommendation of the state public defender; one county attorney appointed by the governor upon recommendation of the board of directors of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association; the commissioner of corrections or a designee; one peace officer as defined in section 626.84 appointed by the governor; one probation officer or parole officer appointed by the governor; and three public members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a victim of a crime defined as a felony.
When an appointing authority selects individuals for membership on the commission, the authority shall make reasonable efforts to appoint qualified members of protected groups, as defined in section 43A.02, subdivision 33 which states, in part: "...'protected groups' means females, persons with disabilities, and members of the following minorities: Black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaskan native."
One of the members shall be designated by the governor as chair of the commission.
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