Judicial Discretion and Sentencing Behavior
AbstractThis research studies the impact of changes to federal judicial discretion on criminal sentencing outcomes. The Feeney Amendment to the 2003 PROTECT Act restricted federal judges’ ability to impose sentences outside of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and required appellate courts to review downward departures. Using data on all federal sentences between 1999 and 2004, we examine the effect of the Feeney Amendment on the downward departures rate and prison sentence. We control for type of offense, district of sentencing, criminal history, and demographic characteristics of the offender, in order to isolate the changes in judicial sentencing due to the implementation of the Feeney Amendment. Our results suggest that the Feeney Amendment reduced the probability of a downward departure by 5% and increased prison sentences by two months. There is no evidence that judges adjust sentences in an effort to circumvent the intentions of the Feeney Amendment.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13880.
Date of creation: 10 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Federal Sentencing Guidelines; criminal justice;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anderson, James M & Kling, Jeffrey R & Stith, Kate, 1999.
"Measuring Interjedge Sentencing Disparity: Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 271-307, April.
- Anderson, J.M. & Kling, J.R. & Stith, K., 1999. "Measuring Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Papers 207, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- James M. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Kling & Kate Stith, 1998. "Measuring Inter-judge Sentencing Disparity Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Working Papers 153, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
- Bjerk, David, 2005.
"Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 591-625, October.
- David Bjerk, 2004. "Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion Under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, McMaster University.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.