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courtroom

Could Sentencing ‘Discounts’ Replace Plea Bargaining?

A forthcoming study argues that putting sentencing authority in the hands of impartial judges will curb prosecutors’ “unfettered” power to force poor defendants to plead guilty or face trial. The study authors propose a more transparent system, similar to Australia’s, which automatically reduces a sentence by fixed percentages if the accused elects to go to trial.

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lady justice

The Color of Justice

An examination of 10,000 San Francisco criminal cases by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice found that race and ethnicity influence how long an individual is held in custody before trial, as well as the severity of the charges.

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US Criminal Caseload Dropping: Report

The US Sentencing Commission’s quarterly report shows a decrease in the total number of criminal cases since 2016, despite a slight uptick in the last quarter which appears to be driven by immigration offenses. Immigration and drug crimes made up over 62% of federal criminal cases in the U.S. between October 2016 and March 2017, with firearms offenses a distant second at 11.8%.

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Feeling ‘Dirty’ About Sentencing

Retired Federal Judge Schira Scheindlin has said mandatory-minimum requirements made her feel “dirty.” Other judges have joined the chorus of justice reformers who complain rigorous sentencing guidelines are unfair. But are they addressing the wrong problem?

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