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Modeling Sentencing in U.S. Federal Courts: Competing Methods for Modeling Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines

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Abstract:

Since Engen and Gainey’s 2000 Criminology article on the subject, various methods for accounting for the effect of presumptive sentences on sentencing outcomes under guidelines have become popular in the literature. We revisit these methods, and discuss their strengths and drawbacks. In particular, we compare and contrast the following: 1) including presumptive sentence measures, measures of offense severity, and criminal history simultaneously, 2) including only presumptive sentence measures as proxies for offense severity and criminal history, and 3) constraining the effect of a presumptive sentence measure to be 1, which algebraically amounts to differencing the actual sentence from the presumptive sentence. We illustrate how these different methods perform using federal sentencing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission for years 2002-2004. We conclude that sentencing researchers should exercise caution in interpreting results from these methods, particularly in studies of sentencing disparity, because the meanings of those results are very different.
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Association:
Name: ASC Annual Meeting
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http://www.asc41.com


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p374214_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ulmer, Jeffery. and Light, Michael. "Modeling Sentencing in U.S. Federal Courts: Competing Methods for Modeling Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA, Nov 04, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p374214_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ulmer, J. and Light, M. T. , 2009-11-04 "Modeling Sentencing in U.S. Federal Courts: Competing Methods for Modeling Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p374214_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Since Engen and Gainey’s 2000 Criminology article on the subject, various methods for accounting for the effect of presumptive sentences on sentencing outcomes under guidelines have become popular in the literature. We revisit these methods, and discuss their strengths and drawbacks. In particular, we compare and contrast the following: 1) including presumptive sentence measures, measures of offense severity, and criminal history simultaneously, 2) including only presumptive sentence measures as proxies for offense severity and criminal history, and 3) constraining the effect of a presumptive sentence measure to be 1, which algebraically amounts to differencing the actual sentence from the presumptive sentence. We illustrate how these different methods perform using federal sentencing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission for years 2002-2004. We conclude that sentencing researchers should exercise caution in interpreting results from these methods, particularly in studies of sentencing disparity, because the meanings of those results are very different.


Similar Titles:
Departures from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Post-Koon Appellate Court Decisions As Legal Environment

The Punishment of Hispanics Over Time: An Analysis of Hispanics Sentenced under Federal Sentencing Guidelines, 1992-2004

Sentencing the "Model Minority:" Examining Asian American Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. Federal District Courts


 
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