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17 posts tagged with Sentencing.
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Discrepancies in sentencing.

Men receive longer sentences for equivalent crimes. Abstract: This paper assesses gender disparities in federal criminal cases. It finds large gender gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution (averaging over 60%), conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables. Female arrestees are also significantly likelier to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. Prior studies have reported much smaller sentence gaps because they have ignored the role of charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing fact-finding in producing sentences. Most studies control for endogenous severity measures that result from these earlier discretionary processes and use samples that have been winnowed by them. I avoid these problems by using a linked dataset tracing cases from arrest through sentencing. Using decomposition methods, I show that most sentence disparity arises from decisions at the earlier stages, and use the rich data to investigate causal theories for these gender gaps. [more inside]
posted by vapidave on Dec 9, 2013 - 54 comments

The US 'cannot incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation'

Sentencing reform for drug offences is expected be announced by the US Attorney General. Eric Holder will announce Monday that he is mandating the Justice Department modify its policies so that certain non-violent drug offenders will no longer endure “draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” according to excerpts of his remarks to American Bar Association. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 12, 2013 - 68 comments

“Might just as well say I’m dead.”

Quartavious Davis of Florida, now twenty, has been sentenced to 162 years without parole for his role in several armed robberies during which he discharged a firearm but no one was hurt. He was a teenager at the time of the crimes and had no previous record. The Supreme Court has recently ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." Davis was 18 and 19 at the time of the crimes, and the sentence was discretionary, so this ruling does not apply.
posted by 256 on Jul 4, 2012 - 195 comments

Now what am I going to do with all these signs

After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
posted by anigbrowl on Dec 7, 2011 - 56 comments

The Brain on Trial.

The Brain on Trial. Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania."
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Jul 15, 2011 - 99 comments

Doing Time For Acquitted Crimes

If you have been charged with multiple crimes and not convicted on all charges, the judge may increase your sentence based on 'acquitted conduct', the crimes for which you were not convicted. This policy is beginning to get a lot more attention due to Jim Caron, writing to a U.S. District Court judge as 'Juror No. 6' and recently highlighted by articles in the Washington Post and the Washington Times. His offense at the idea that his work as a juror had been nullified by this policy has opened a can of worms with all sorts of people who view this "in terms of defendant's rights versus government interests." Too late for Mr. Caron, a distinguished agricultural economist with the USDA, who died suddenly last year.
posted by Appropriate Username on May 14, 2009 - 32 comments

Minimums No Longer Mandatory?

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences associated with drug offenses. If passed, the federal government would join eighteen other states in abandoning the "tough on crime" stance of the 1980's when it comes to drug offenders. State reforms include including New York's legislative repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, Michigan's repeal of 650 lifer sentencing, North Dakota's repeal of one-year mandatory minimum sentences for first-time drug offenders, Arizona's Proposition 200, which required probation and treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, Louisiana's decision to restore eligibility for parole and probation to nonviolent offenders, and the Kansas Sentencing Commission's recommendation for mandatory treatment for nonviolent offenders. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy on Apr 26, 2009 - 46 comments

The Bible as sentencing reference tool

The Bible as sentencing device If the Constitution sanctions such direct reliance on religious sources when imposing criminal sentences, then there is nothing to stop prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers from regularly citing religious sources like the Bible, the Talmud, or the Koran to justify their respective positions on punishment.
posted by docpops on Mar 28, 2005 - 46 comments

Who is Too Important for Prison?

Former University of Pennsylvania professor and head of Penn's Head Injury Research Center Tracy McIntosh, a Fulbright scholar, and renowned researcher plead no contest in December to possession of a controlled substance and the sexual assault of a 25 year-old Penn student. Judge Rayford Means sentenced him to a year of house arrest and 12 years' probation, as the Judge had "factored in McIntosh's important work with stroke victims and brain injuries."

Tracy McIntosh is too important for prison.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Mar 5, 2005 - 68 comments

Actuarial Justice

The State of Virginia (nyt) has provided judges with a checklist to determine whether or not nonviolent offenders should go to jail. 40 year old woman with a job and husband = no jail. 21 YO man without job or wife = see you in 3-5. Here are the official guidelines (pdf) for sex offenders with a detailed explanation of the process.
posted by jmgorman on Jan 2, 2005 - 38 comments

Breaking updates!

Updating this mefi story here where a set of extremely abusive parents who abused their children into their teens were sentenced to only 9 months prison. A judge now deems that sentence "demonstrably unfit" and resentences the mother and father to 5 and 4 years in jail, respectively. Thanks to t r a c y for the update.
posted by shepd on Nov 5, 2004 - 4 comments

legal double standards

Sex Crimes and equal treatment "under the law." (pun anyone?)

Outraged prosecutors said Thursday that they will appeal the sentence given to Edwin "Ed" Mann, a former Orlando Police Department sex-crimes detective, for having a sexual affair with a 14-year-old girl who had earlier dated his son.

Mann, a former leader in Cops for Christ, pleaded guilty last week to four felony charges resulting from an ongoing sexual relationship he had with the girl two years ago when he was a sex-crimes detective.


Do you think being "religious" and policeman merits special treatment from a judge?
posted by nofundy on Nov 26, 2002 - 37 comments

This is some scary stuff. Life in prison for malicious hacking? We can't keep rapists and murderers away from society for very long but now hackers & crackers could be jailed for life? And on top of that the FBI can monitor internet packets without a warrant? If you enjoy your freedom from gov't surveillance, it looks like it's time to start using PGP.
posted by mathowie on Jul 16, 2002 - 21 comments

Should punishments be "creative"?

Should punishments be "creative"? Judge Michael Cicconett has sentenced a kid with a loud radio to sit quietly in the woods, a man to hang out with a pig, at least one guy to run a race to diminish his jail sentence. Now Judge Michael Cicconetti is back in the news for sentencing a couple to print apologies in the local newspaper for their tryst on a public beach. These are rather inconsequential sentences for very minor crimes, but one might still ask: Does creative sentencing seems intuitively more fair and/or effective, or does it seem to leave justice up to the capriciousness of the judge?
posted by sj on Jul 1, 2002 - 23 comments

Proposal to make ecstasy sentencing harsher than heroin

Proposal to make ecstasy sentencing harsher than heroin passed despite opposition from the Federation of American Scientists (Acrobat req'd). One of these opponents from the Federation served as Nixon's drug czar. Why is the government so hard on ecstasy? What effect will this have on the drug war in general? And is this anything but an empty (but harmful) political move?
posted by pikachulolita on Mar 21, 2001 - 25 comments

Libyan gets minimum of 20 years for Lockerbie Bombing by Scottish Court.

Libyan gets minimum of 20 years for Lockerbie Bombing by Scottish Court. Why are British courts handing out such tiny sentences? After all, in America it's not uncommon for people to receive 99 years for a single murder. Some people are doing over 10 years for rape alone. This Libyan could have easily received the death sentence if he were in the US, as it was similar in scale to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Yet, in the UK, it's possible to kill people through negligence, and get away with it. Just last month an uninsured driver was speeding, killed a pedestrian, fled the scene, and although found guilty, only received a driving ban!

Is the UK overly soft in its sentencing? Or is the USA overly draconian?
posted by wackybrit on Jan 31, 2001 - 23 comments

when headlines go bad, yet again.

when headlines go bad, yet again. this will be rotated off the site soon, i'm sure, but it was good for a chuckle:

American guilty of spying in Russia: Pope sentenced to 20 years in prison
posted by o2b on Dec 6, 2000 - 0 comments

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