The Article begins with an examination of three primarily empirical questions. First, is the trend real? In other words, is the apparent decrease in federal drug sentences merely a species of statistical hiccup, a random fluctuation that could move easily and rapidly in the other direction? Or is the decline in average drug sentences large enough, and the trend prolonged enough, that we can safely conclude that something meaningful is occurring?
Frank O. Bowman III & Michael Heise, Quiet Rebellion? Explaining Nearly A Decade of Declining Federal Drug Sentences, 86 Iowa L. Rev. 1043 (2001)