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Do the Sentencing Guidelines Influence the Retirement Decisions of Federal Judges?

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  • Richard T. Boylan

Abstract

Many U.S. district court judges have expressed dissatisfaction with the sentencing guidelines. Such feelings are consistent with the assumption that judges care about power, not being overturned, and sentences being proportional to the offense. This paper shows that the sentencing guidelines lead judges to take senior status earlier. Specifically, under the sentencing guidelines, district court judges take senior status .4 years after becoming eligible to do so. Without the sentencing guidelines, district court judges would select senior status 3 years after becoming eligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard T. Boylan, 2004. "Do the Sentencing Guidelines Influence the Retirement Decisions of Federal Judges?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 231-253, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:33:y:2004:p:231-253 DOI: 10.1086/380411
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 207-236.
    2. 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.
    3. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-236, April.
    4. LaCasse, Chantale & Payne, A Abigail, 1999. "Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Do Defendants Bargain in the Shadow of the Judge?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 245-269, April.
    5. Cohen, Mark A, 1991. "Explaining Judicial Behavior or What's "Unconstitutional" about the Sentencing Commission?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 183-199, Spring.
    6. Lott, John R, Jr, 1992. "Do We Punish High Income Criminals Too Heavily?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 583-608, October.
    7. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 207-236.
    8. Jennifer Reinganum, 2000. "Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, and Plea Bargaining," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 62-81.
    9. Ashenfelter, Orley & Eisenberg, Theodore & Schwab, Stewart J, 1995. "Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 257-281, June.
    10. Smith, Joseph L & Tiller, Emerson H, 2002. "The Strategy of Judging: Evidence from Administrative Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 61-82, January.
    11. Elder, Harold W., 1987. "Property rights structures and criminal courts: An analysis of state criminal courts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 21-32, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav & Mark Ramseyer, 2009. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor's Choice," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 47-78.
    2. Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Myriam Doriat-Duban & Jean-Claude Ray, 2006. "Caractéristiques du juge et décisions en matière de pensions alimentaires. Une étude à partir de données expérimentales," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 563-572.
    3. Joshua B. Fischman & Max M. Schanzenbach, 2011. "Do Standards of Review Matter? The Case of Federal Criminal Sentencing," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 405-437.
    4. Manu Raghav, 2006. "Why do budgets received by state prosecutors vary across districts in the United States?," Caepr Working Papers 2006-018, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    5. Stephen J. Choi & Mitu Gulati & Eric A. Posner, 2013. "The Law and Policy of Judicial Retirement: An Empirical Study," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 111-150.
    6. Max Schanzenbach, 2005. "Racial and Sex Disparities in Prison Sentences: The Effect of District-Level Judicial Demographics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 57-92.
    7. Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Myriam Doriat-Duban & Jean-Claude Ray, 2014. "Child support order: how do judges decide without guidelines? Evidence from France," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 431-452, December.

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