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Full-Text Articles in Law

Racial Disparity In The Criminal Justice Process: Prosecutors, Judges, And The Effects Of United States V. Booker, Sonja Starr, Marit Rehavi Nov 2012

Racial Disparity In The Criminal Justice Process: Prosecutors, Judges, And The Effects Of United States V. Booker, Sonja Starr, Marit Rehavi

Law & Economics Working Papers

Current empirical estimates of racial and other unwarranted disparities in sentencing suffer from two pervasive flaws. The first is a focus on the sentencing stage in isolation. Studies control for the “presumptive sentence” or closely related measures that are themselves the product of discretionary charging, plea-­‐bargaining, and fact-­‐finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are built into the control variable, which leads to misleading sentencing-­‐disparity estimates. The second problem is specific to studies of sentencing reforms: they use loose methods of causal inference that do not disentangle the effects of reform from surrounding events and trends ...


Estimating Gender Disparities In Federal Criminal Cases, Sonja Starr Aug 2012

Estimating Gender Disparities In Federal Criminal Cases, Sonja Starr

Law & Economics Working Papers

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 ...


Exonerations In The United States, 1989-2012: Report By The National Registry Of Exonerations, Samuel R. Gross, Michael Shaffer Jan 2012

Exonerations In The United States, 1989-2012: Report By The National Registry Of Exonerations, Samuel R. Gross, Michael Shaffer

Other Publications

This report is about 873 exonerations in the United States, from January 1989 through February 2012. Behind each is a story, and almost all are tragedies. The tragedies are not limited to the exonerated defendants themselves, or to their families and friends. In most cases they were convicted of vicious crimes in which other innocent victims were killed or brutalized. Many of the victims who survived were traumatized all over again, years later, when they learned that the criminal who had attacked them had not been caught and punished after all, and that they themselves may have played a role ...


Do Sex Offender Registries Make Us Less Safe?, J. J. Prescott Jan 2012

Do Sex Offender Registries Make Us Less Safe?, J. J. Prescott

Articles

State legislatures enacted sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws with the explicit and exclusive aim of reducing sex offender recidivism. The general idea that we ought to “regulate” released offenders — of any type — to reduce the likelihood of their returning to crime is an attractive one, at least in theory. Criminal recidivism generates significant social harm. Nevertheless, despite their now-widespread use, SORN laws became the norm without any systematic study of their consequences. Admittedly, the logic underlying these laws seems at first difficult to gainsay: if a known sex offender poses even a small risk to a potential new ...


Symposium: Examining Shaken Baby Syndrome Convictions In Light Of New Medical And Scientific Research, David A. Moran Jan 2012

Symposium: Examining Shaken Baby Syndrome Convictions In Light Of New Medical And Scientific Research, David A. Moran

Articles

I've been asked to react to Professor Findley's talk, and I just wanted to try to put this in a concrete format that we can understand. In the summer of 2001, when my oldest daughter was about six months old, I put her in a backpack (the kind that you strap to your back) to go for a hike. In trying to get her out of that backpack after the walk, I dropped her, and she landed on her head, and she very briefly lost consciousness. So I rushed her to the University of Michigan Medical Center in ...


Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, David A. Moran, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, Waney Squier Jan 2012

Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, David A. Moran, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, Waney Squier

Articles

In the past decade, the existence of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) has been called into serious question by biomechanical studies, the medical and legal literature, and the media. As a result of these questions, SBS has been renamed abusive head trauma (AHT). This is, however, primarily a terminological shift: like SBS, AHT refers to the two-part hypothesis that one can reliably diagnose shaking or abuse from three internal findings (subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage, and encephalopathy) and that one can identify the perpetrator based on the onset of symptoms. Over the past decade, we have learned that this hypothesis fits poorly ...


David Baldus And The Legacy Of Mccleskey V. Kemp, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2012

David Baldus And The Legacy Of Mccleskey V. Kemp, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

The first major empirical challenge to racial discrimination in the use of the death penalty in the United States was presented in federal court in the case of William L. Maxwell, who was sentenced to death in Arkansas in 1962 for the crime of rape.1 It was based on a landmark study by Marvin Wolfgang, a distinguished criminologist who had collected data on some 3000 rape convictions from 1945 through 1965 in selected counties across eleven southern states.2 He found that black men who were convicted of rape were seven times more likely to be sentenced to death ...