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April 12, 2023

"Judicial Scarring"

The title of this post is the title of this new empirical paper authored by Karthik Srinivasan available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract:

I document that experienced decision makers can be influenced by irrelevant events in a high stakes setting, felony sentencing in Cook County.  Using a stacked difference-in-differences design, I estimate that judges hand down sentences that are 13% longer after sentencing a first degree murder.  The effect is twice as large for defendants who resemble the murderer along the dimensions of race and charge severity.  The bias affects 6% of defendants on an ongoing basis and temporarily increases the Black sentencing penalty by 91%.

April 12, 2023 at 09:58 AM | Permalink


Interesting insight----judges should be made aware of these findings.

This is hilarious: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/the-biskupic-omission.php

what a joke left-libs are

Posted by: federalist | Apr 12, 2023 1:42:02 PM


It's a problem, as I like to say.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 12, 2023 1:45:07 PM

Answer? Tighter guidelines with more teeth. "Advisory" is not what Congress intended, because it knew that stuff like this would result.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 12, 2023 3:50:13 PM

Most sentencing in state courts is worked out in advance in a plea deal between the lawyers. The judge just rubber stamps it. This paper should really at least acknowledge that complication. Far too much quantitative work in criminal law is unsophisticated about how criminal courts operate.

Posted by: x | Apr 12, 2023 5:34:18 PM

Thanks, federalist, for trying to drag this great blog into tribalism Twitter territory.

Posted by: SBradly | Apr 13, 2023 7:58:15 AM

How so? Are you saying that the DOJ's lenient recommendation for someone who assaulted a church member in a hate crime shouldn't be juxtaposed with what they tried to do with a guy who was defending his son? Ok.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 13, 2023 3:51:06 PM

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