Republican Male Judges in the South Give Longer Sentences

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
(AP Photo)

If convicted of a crime and facing prison time, the last kind of judge a person wants deciding his or her fate is a white male Republican based in the South.


Such judges tend to give out longer sentences than others, according to research by Crystal Yang, a fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.


After reviewing more than 600,000 federal legal cases between 2000 and 2009, Yang formulated several observations about judges’ sentencing patterns.


Female judges on average sentenced people to 1.7 fewer months than male judges. Judges appointed by a Democratic president were 2.2% more likely to exercise leniency, Yang found.


“Where you’re sentenced matters even more,” Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, wrote in the New Yorker after reviewing Yang’s study. “Judges in the South are harsher; in the Northeast and on the West Coast, they are more easygoing.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Who’s to Judge (by Tim Wu, New Yorker)

Have Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparities Increased in an Advisory Guidelines Regime? Evidence from Booker (by Crystal Yang, University of Chicago Law School) (pdf)

Federal Sentencing Shows Dramatic Differences by Judge, but Not by Party (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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