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July 23, 2018

"Judicial Delegation"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper on SSRN authored by David Abrams, Roberto Galbiati, Emeric Henry and Arnaud Philippe.  Here is its abstract:

Greater delegation of authority to judges allows them to tailor decisions more precisely to the facts of the case and local norms, but also increases the likelihood of judicial capture, especially by repeat litigants.  Three main approach have historically been taken to address this in the criminal law realm: judicial elections, judicial rotation and sentencing guidelines.

We investigate some of the trade-offs inherent in the different approaches using data from North Carolina which has the unusual feature of frequent judicial rotation as well as elections and sentencing guidelines.  We find that sentences converge over time within a judicial spell in a district to the local average sentence.  We also document that the more prior interactions a judge has with a defense attorney, the more sentences decline.  Finally, we show that judges respond to electoral cycles and that elections thus can be a way to discipline them.

July 23, 2018 at 10:27 PM | Permalink


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