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University of Michigan Law School

Empirical studies

Civil Rights and Discrimination

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On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


Beyond Common Sense: A Social Psychological Study Of Iqbal's Effect On Claims Of Race Discrimination, Victor D. Quintanilla Sep 2011

Beyond Common Sense: A Social Psychological Study Of Iqbal's Effect On Claims Of Race Discrimination, Victor D. Quintanilla

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) once operated as a notice pleading rule, requiring plaintiffs to set forth only a "short and plain" statement of their claim. In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, and then Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the United States Supreme Court recast Rule 8(a) into a plausibility pleading standard. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal requires federal courts, when deciding whether a complaint is plausible, to draw on their "judicial experience and common sense." Courts apply ...