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December 5, 2017

"Remorse Bias"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper authored by Eve Hanan now available via SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Whether a defendant expresses remorse at criminal sentencing often has a direct bearing on the severity of the sentence.  But how good are judges at accurately assessing genuine, meaningful remorse?  Research demonstrates that judges hold contradictory and unfounded views about how sincere remorse should be expressed and, as a result, are likely to misjudge remorse.  Legal and social science scholars have grappled with the challenge of accurately assessing remorse, but no one has analyzed whether implicit racial bias skews remorse assessments at criminal sentencing in predictable and systematically discriminatory ways.

In an effort to unmask this mode of discrimination, this Article synthesizes two areas of scholarship not previously compared — (1) scholarship on the role of remorse in criminal sentencing and (2) social science research on implicit racial bias — to argue that unconscious cognitive assumptions about race and criminality causes judges to discredit African American displays of remorse and, as a consequence, sentence them to harsher punishments.  At a time when racial disparity and implicit bias dominates national discussions of criminal sentencing reform, improving our understanding of where our criminal justice system is particularly susceptible to racial bias can help reformers mend these weaknesses in our system to ensure it works equally for everyone.

December 5, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink


Remorse after charges, and during sentencing cannot be sincere. Sincere remorse has to take place before the arrest, or even before the investigation. The real remorse after that is associated with being punished. People with antisocial personality are good actors. They get people to do things the people should not do. Remorse in a tribunal has no meaning. It may have even been coached and rehearsed by a good defense lawyer.

"...judges hold contradictory and unfounded views about how sincere remorse should be expressed and, as a result, are likely to misjudge remorse."

Again with the super natural mind reading power by lawyers. I cannot take your profession anymore. Yet, this ridiculous lawyer idea can influence the consequences in the physical world in the form of prison sentences. Even the Medieval Church believed intent and remorse would be judged by an All Knowing God after death, in heaven. That was in accordance with their faith. The church did not believe minds could be read by people. Even in the law of that time, intent was used as a loophole. The sole penalty was death. So I pick a flower from the King's garden, death. Such mind reading is no longer necessary.

I would be interested in a lawyer defending this mind reading that is ubiquitous in legal procedure. Supernatural, and faith based doctrines are prohibited by the Establishment Clause. They are illegal in our secular nation. Why is this supernatural procedure still widely practiced in the legal system?

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 5, 2017 1:59:07 PM

Remorse - how do you even define or interpret one's true feelings. Having written hundreds of PSR's and attended just as many sentencings at the federal level, I can tell you one thing that I know is true - almost everyone (except for the ponzi scheme guy who was "framed" or went to trial) feels some type remorse. Of course they feel bad for the situation they are in, the situation they put their family or children in and in some cases, the situation they left the victims in. Everyone conveys remorse differently. While some are truly remorseful and show it in an appropriate manner, others just simply don't know how other than to say, "I'm sorry." Actions will speak louder than words and if they are remorseful and don't want to be back before the federal judge for a probation or supervised release violation, they will let those actions do the talking. I have had many an offender who I felt was less than remorseful, but after a short prison sent, they successfully completed supervised release and were productive members of society - shocking right, some really don't reoffend after prison!

Posted by: atomicfrog | Dec 5, 2017 3:36:14 PM

"I cannot take your profession anymore." Mr. Behar, there is a ready remedy for your difficulty with lawyers. Stop visiting sites such as this one in which lawyers are ubiquitous. While it might be difficult, those who read the blog will manage without your comments.

Posted by: Publius | Dec 5, 2017 4:16:39 PM

Here is a group who never feel remorse. The dirty traitors to our country who loose millions of ultraviolent predators on our people. Being a lawyer means, never having to say, you are sorry.

Hey, Publius. How about this instead? We get rid of two thirds of the lawyers in this country, and reach a more appropriate, less toxic level of over-lawyering. You are just a denier about how much your profession stinks, and is in utter failure, in every self stated goal of every law subject.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 5, 2017 4:49:11 PM

I fully concur with Publius.

Posted by: Sally | Dec 5, 2017 5:16:59 PM

Mr. Behar, you're not so good at actually responding to things, are you? I didn't ask for more of your ranting. I suggested only that you reduce your stress by avoiding websites where lawyers congregate. But you can't seem to do that. I would think you'd prefer to avoid blogs that include posts that so frustrate you and readers who so utterly dismiss your unhelpful bile.

Posted by: Publius | Dec 5, 2017 5:19:21 PM

Hi, Publius. Your remarks my feelings. I want to color now.

Here is a denier screening test for you. The answers to both questions are yes or no. They are for you too, Sweetie. Sally try to answer them.

Was 9/11 a CIA/Mossad operation? Were the outbuildings destroyed by timed explosives as in a scheduled demolition?

Yes or no to each.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 5, 2017 10:01:46 PM

I have made a shocking discovery. Progressives are Truthers, and deniers. No progressive will answer, the above questions, no.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 8:29:30 AM

Mr. Behar, you struggle with relevance, don't you? (By the way, my politics are irrelevant to this discussion, but I'll note for sake of clarity that I know of no evidence that the attacks in 2001 were anything other than what they are commonly accepted to have been.) Now, might you go away since lawyers seem to trouble you so?

Posted by: Publius | Dec 6, 2017 10:02:24 AM

Publius. Who perpetrated the 9/11 attack? Was it Al Qaeda, a Muslim terror organization? Yes or no.

This is a highly relevant question. Deniers do not argue in good faith. Deniers are also anti-Semites. I would have nothing to say to you anymore.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 10:32:14 AM

Publius. No bigger trolls to our nation than the failed lawyer profession. You and your profession stink. You are the stupidest people in our country.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 10:34:38 AM

Behar, how in the heck did you escape again from the asylum?

Posted by: Sally | Dec 6, 2017 10:39:42 AM

Mr. Behar, don't blame us because your wife's lawyer took you to the cleaners.

Posted by: Mildred | Dec 6, 2017 10:40:52 AM

Mr. Behar, today is Wednesday: that means the blue pill, not the red one. Try to remember.

Posted by: Dave from Iowa | Dec 6, 2017 10:41:56 AM

While I'm neither a "denier" nor an anti-Semite, your promise to have nothing more to do with me if I were is tempting. I guess you won't go away notwithstanding your utter disgust with most of the folks who visit this site. A sad commentary that you'd devote so much of your time with "the stupidest people in our country" -- a group that, if the comments are accurate, regards your thoughts are useless.

Posted by: Publius | Dec 6, 2017 10:43:59 AM

Publius. You need to say, Al Qaeda, a Muslim terror organization, committed 9/11. Otherwise, you are both a denier and an anti-Semite, just denying your denial to yourself.

Sally, on the other hand, is a full, denier, a 9/11 Truther, as all feminists are, as all progressives are. She will not even try to weasel out of the question as you have.

Hey, Sally, was the Holocaust an exaggeration, a misinterpretation of a typhus epidemic from poor sanitary conditions in the concentration camps. Answer the question.

These beliefs make you both morally reprehensible.

Here is what makes you dangerous. You protect, privilege, and empower the criminals. You allow 30 million crimes to occur, and prosecute 2 million people. This is all to maintain your lousy, big government make work jobs. You both stink, you rent seeking morons.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 12:22:04 PM

Behar, how in the heck did you get out of the straightjacket? It was the latest model. Oh well, back to the drawing boards.

Posted by: Dave from Iowa | Dec 6, 2017 1:22:08 PM

Hey, Dave: Va funculo, stronzo.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 3:45:16 PM

Hi, Mildred: What are you, a femnist?

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 6, 2017 3:46:25 PM

I leave for a day and come back to this - what the ...I thought the topic was remorse bias?! I'm not here to bash, but explain my thoughts in a meaningful way - David - I'd encourage you to do the same and stay on topic.

Posted by: atomicfrog | Dec 7, 2017 7:44:00 AM

Atomic. I addressed remorse bias, with facts you may not have heard in law school. Do you support mind reading by judges? You do not support lie detector test results. They at least record physical reactions, and not supernatural effects, such as mind reading. This mind reading is garbage and violates due process. See the first comment.

I was personally attacked. I replied. I exposed 9/11 Truthers and anti-semites in the process. Yet, you have the nerve to criticize me. Your ad hominem remark reflects your bias. You are very unfair to me. You have no criticism of the vicious feminist Truthers and their male running dogs. Not a word.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 7, 2017 9:22:04 AM

Wow - there you go again, drinking the Kool-Aid - your comments are good for one thing and one thing only - they make me laugh. How you managed earn your MD and EJD (per your blog, but I did verify with the PA Board of Medicine and you are active and in good standing since 10/17/1980) baffles me. You cannot honestly believe your comments are anything more than letters taking up space right? I mean, mind reading, 9/11 Truthers, vicious feminists, I mean wow, how off base and completely irrelevant. I respect Prof. Berman and this blog, what I don't respect is your lack of intelligent contribution to the on-going dialogue. I can assure you, I'm not the only one...and it's kinda sad actually. Per your blog, you noted you area an "Adult and Child Psychiatrist in Pennsylvania, with an Executive JD from Concord Law School, an internet law school. Not a lawyer." I initially thought you were a real lawyer, that's when I got scared for my fellow humans, but alas, just an internet degree, lucky for us all. Some of the posters here do post intelligently and contribute wisdom and often times force me to think or re-think. You cause me to re-think too - but for an entirely different reason - should I even ever come back? Why - and why read your comments - just gibberish I say, just gibberish.

Posted by: atomicfrog | Dec 7, 2017 10:12:57 AM

Hi, Atomic. Have a blessed day.

Let me ask you something.

Was 9/11 a CIA/Mossad operation? Were the outbuildings destroyed by timed explosives as in a scheduled demolition.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 7, 2017 4:55:21 PM

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