Georgia judges have been requesting and receiving information on felony sentencing from GDC since the early 1970’s, in ever more comprehensive statistical reports. Bench Stats, shown here, resulted from a 2008 survey of more than sixty Superior Court judges. Developed by GDC and distributed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, the survey asked judges what they would most like to see on a report about sentencing practices in Georgia. Bench Stats incorporates most of their suggestions.
Bench_Stats has one page for each felony offense for which GDC has received at least fifty convictions over the previous five years. The report is organized in O.C.G.A. order, and is a couple of hundred pages long. A new edition is published once a year. For each offense, it shows:
Bench Stats is not intended as a prescriptive guide for sentencing, but rather as a general overview of how Georgia judges have sentenced for specific offenses. It knows nothing of the unique circumstances of each case, such as the strength of evidence, the severity of offense, whether the case was pled or went to trial, the demeanor of the defendant, etc.
One item not in Bench Stats that judges particularly wanted to see was what the Parole Board’s policy is for particular offenses and sentences. That information is available directly from Parole at http://www.pap.state.ga.us under the "Clemency" tab.
Here is our archive of Bench_Stats editions, from newest to oldest.