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Criminal Law

Boston College Law Review

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Jury Sentencing And Juveniles: Eighth Amendment Limits And Sixth Amendment Rights, Sarah French Russell Mar 2015

Jury Sentencing And Juveniles: Eighth Amendment Limits And Sixth Amendment Rights, Sarah French Russell

Boston College Law Review

Across the country, states are grappling with how to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Miller v. Alabama, which held that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment. Following Miller, it appears a sentencer may impose life without parole on a juvenile homicide offender only in those rare instances in which the sentencer determines, after considering the mitigating qualities of youth, that the juvenile’s crime reflects “irreparable corruption.” Courts are preparing to conduct resentencing hearings in states nationwide, and new cases where juveniles face the possibility of life in prison are entering ...


Anchors Away: Why The Anchoring Effect Suggests That Judges Should Be Able To Participate In Plea Discussions, Colin Miller Sep 2013

Anchors Away: Why The Anchoring Effect Suggests That Judges Should Be Able To Participate In Plea Discussions, Colin Miller

Boston College Law Review

The “anchoring effect” is a cognitive bias by which people evaluate numbers by focusing on a reference point—an anchor—and adjusting up or down. Unfortunately, people usually do not sufficiently adjust away from their anchors, so the initial choice of anchors has an inordinate effect on their final estimates. More than ninety percent of all criminal cases are resolved by plea bargains. In the vast majority of those cases, the prosecutor makes the initial plea offer, and prosecutors often make high initial offers. Assuming that the prosecutor’s opening offer operates as an anchor, nearly all criminal case in ...


Judicial Policy Nullification Of The Antitrust Sentencing Guideline, Frederick Thide Mar 2013

Judicial Policy Nullification Of The Antitrust Sentencing Guideline, Frederick Thide

Boston College Law Review

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide for special treatment of hard-core cartel activity to ensure that penalties for antitrust crimes effectively deter and punish criminals. The U.S. Supreme Court’s transformational sentencing cases, however, have returned significant discretion to sentencing judges, including the discretion to vary from the Guidelines on policy grounds. Yet, judicial discretion in sentencing is not unlimited. Judges are required by statute to impose sentences that are “sufficient, but not greater than necessary” to achieve the goals of sentencing, subject to appellate review for reasonableness. This Note analyzes whether there is a sustainable basis for judicial policy ...