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How Do Judges Decide?
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How Do Judges Decide?
The Search for Fairness and Justice in Punishment

Second Edition


December 2008 | 376 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

How are sentences for federal, state, and local crimes determined?
Is this process fairly and justly applied to all concerned?
How have reforms affected the process over the last 25 years?

Offering a comprehensive overview of the sentencing process in the United States, How Do Judges Decide? The Search for Fairness and Justice in Punishment explores these questions and more. Author Cassia Spohn first discusses the overall concept of punishment and then analyzes individual aspects of it, including the sentencing process, the responsibility of the judge, and disparity and discrimination in sentencing. This Second Edition offers new information on the impact of sentencing reforms, including recent research and case law, updated statistics in tables and figures, and new boxed highlights.

Key Features

  • Helps students understand patterns in the wide discretion and latitude given to judges when determining penalties within the framework of the U.S. judicial system
  • Engages the reader with "Focus on an Issue" sections, which analyze key issues such as gender and sentencing (Ch.4) and the impact of race on sentencing for drug offenses (Ch.5)
  • Examines sentencing reforms and their impact, providing students with up-to-date information on how punishment is meted out in U.S. courts.
  • Contains boxed excerpts in each chapter from books and articles, with a variety of case studies on topics such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, judicial surveys, and comparison of sentences in different jurisdictions by gender
  • Offers new material on specialty courts and the prosecutor's role in sentencing
  • Concludes each chapter with discussion questions


How Do Judges Decide? is an ideal text for upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses on the judicial system, criminal law, and law and society.


 
CHAPTER 1: THE GOALS OF SENTENCING
Why Punish?  
How Much To Punish?  
Theories of Punishment and Judges' Sentencing Decisions  
Conclusion  
 
CHAPTER TWO: THE SENTENCING PROCESS
The Judge's Options at Sentencing  
Sentencing as a Collaborative Exercise  
The Sentencing Process  
 
CHAPTER 3: HOW DO JUDGES DECIDE?
Modeling the Sentencing Process  
Sentencing and Case Attributes  
Sentencing and Characteristics of the Judge  
How do Judges Decide?  
 
CHAPTER 4: SENTENCING DISPARITY AND DISCRIMINATION: A FOCUS ON GENDER
Types of Sentencing Discrimination  
Gender Disparity in Sentencing  
Disparity and Discrimination in Sentencing  
 
CHAPTER 5: SENTENCING DISPARITY AND DISCRIMINATION: A FOCUS ON RACE/ETHNICITY
Racial Disparity in Sentencing  
Race and Judges' Sentencing Decisions  
Race and the Death Penalty: A Failed Experiment?  
Justice From the Bench?  
 
CHAPTER 6: THE SENTENCING REFORM MOVEMENT
Structured Sentencing Reforms  
Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines  
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes  
Three-Strikes-and-You're Out Laws  
Truth in Sentencing Laws  
Three Decades of Reform  
 
CHAPTER 7: THE IMPACT OF SENTENCING REFORMS
Have Sentencing Reforms Led to More Punitive Sentences?  
Have Sentencing Reforms Led to a Reduction in Crime?  
Have Sentencing Reforms Reduced Disparity and Discrimination?  
Assessing the Impact of the Sentencing Reform Movement  

"It is the most comprehensive analysis of sentencing practices in the United States in general, and of how judges decide in particular.  It provides ample statistics of the realities of punishment and provides readers with the conclusions from several decades of research investigating judicial discretion."

Richard D. Hartley
University of Texas at San Antonio
Key features
  •  Examines sentencing reforms and their impact, providing students with up-to-date information on how punishment is meted out in U.S. courts.
  • Boxes within chapters contain exerpts from books and articles with actual cases studies on topics such as the O.J. Simpson jury, judicial surveys, comparison of sentences in different jurisdicitions by gender.
  • Frequent use of boxes and tables.
  • Discussion questions at ends of chapters.

    New to this edition:
  1. Includes new research and case law.
  2. Update statistics especially in tables and figures.
  3. Adding more on the prosecutor's role in sentencing.
  4. Adding material on specialty courts.
  5. Replacing some of the boxes with new material.

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email textsales@sagepub.com.

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