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November 3, 2017

"Multiple Offenders and the Question of Desert"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper by Youngjae Lee now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This essay, published as a chapter in Sentencing Multiple Crimes (Jesper Ryberg, Julian V. Roberts & Jan W. de Keijser eds., 2017) examines the bulk-discount approach to sentencing multiple offenders.  It argues that bulk discounts are not only appropriate and even mandatory from the just deserts perspective, but that as a general matter, there should be a substantial reduction in sentence for each additional offense when it comes to multiple-offense sentencing.

After providing specific examples of multiple offenders who were sentenced consecutively, the chapter discusses the relationship between culpability and character from the perspective of just deserts theory or retributivism.  It then advances the claim that sentences for multiple offenders should not reach the level at which the state would be communicating an unfairly and inappropriately harsh assessment of the character of each multiple offender.  It also considers the ways in which multiple offenders are more culpable than single-crime offenders and concludes by insisting that discounts for multiple offenders and premiums for repeat offenders are not inconsistent.

November 3, 2017 at 12:52 AM | Permalink


Alex Horton‏ [reporter, former army/Star&Stripes]:

BREAKING: Berghdahl dishonorably discharged, reduced rank of private but no jail time for abandoning his post in Afghanistan in 2009

Posted by: Joe | Nov 3, 2017 11:43:43 AM

Prop 66 in California referenced in an oral argument this week ...


Posted by: Joe | Nov 3, 2017 1:55:10 PM

I found the title confusing, it made me think the paper was going to be about crimes committed by groups rather than a single criminal committing multiple offenses.

And while I can see the default rule being to simply go with the most serious offense when multiple statutes cover a single course of conduct I also fully see the reasons for consecutive sentences when there is more than one unrelated criminal act. Sometimes even when the crime is a single transaction (such as the recent attack in NYC).

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 4, 2017 2:09:58 AM

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