Responses to More Severe Punishment in the Courtroom: Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Laws

29 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2009 Last revised: 14 Dec 2011

See all articles by Libor Dusek

Libor Dusek

University of Economics, Prague

Fusako Tsuchimoto

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 14, 2009

Abstract

We investigate the behavioral responses of judges and prosecutors to more severe punishments by analyzing the effects of Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) laws in a large sample of criminal cases. The TIS laws raised the severity of punishment by requiring offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their imposed sentences in prison. Differences between the U.S. states in the timing of adoption and the types of crimes covered provide a source of identification. The key findings are: (1) The TIS laws reduced the probability that an arrested offender is eventually convicted by 9 percent through an increase in the probability that the case is dismissed, a reduction in the probability that the defendant pleads guilty, and a reduction in the probability that the defendant is convicted at trial. (2) The TIS laws reduced the imposed sentence that a defendant can expect upon arrest by 8 percent. (3) These effects were more pronounced for crimes that were not the primary target of the TIS law, i.e., non-violent crimes.

Keywords: criminal procedure, litigation process, criminal law

JEL Classification: K00, K41, K14

Suggested Citation

Dusek, Libor and Tsuchimoto, Fusako, Responses to More Severe Punishment in the Courtroom: Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Laws (December 14, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1441703 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1441703

Libor Dusek (Contact Author)

University of Economics, Prague ( email )

nam. W.Churchilla 4
Prague 3, 130 67
Czech Republic

Fusako Tsuchimoto

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute) ( email )

Politickych veznu 7
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://www.cerge-ei.cz

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