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Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, And Social Values

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper studies the institutional structure of criminal sentencing, focusing on the interaction between legislatures, which set sentencing ranges ex ante, and judges, who choose actual sentences from within those ranges ex post. The key question concerns the optimal degree of judicial discretion, given the sequential nature of the process and the possibly divergent interests of legislatures and judges regarding the social function of criminal punishment. The enactment of sentencing reform in the 1970s and 80s provides both a context for the model and an opportunity to evaluate its conclusions.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2004-23.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2004-23.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-23

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Criminal punishment; Judicial discretion; Sentencing reform;

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  1. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Emons, Winand, 2003. "A note on the optimal punishment for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 253-259, September.
  3. Schulhofer, Stephen J, 1988. "Criminal Justice Discretion as a Regulatory System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 43-82, January.
  4. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
  5. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "Criminal Sentences as Endogenous Taxes: Are They "Just" or "Efficient"?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 139-51, April.
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