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Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity on the Federal Bench: An Examination of Drug Smuggling Cases in the Southern District of California

7 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2013  

Caleb E. Mason

Brown White & Osborn LLP

David Bjerk

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In this paper we exploit a unique dataset we collected directly from the arrest narratives filed in "border bust" drug smuggling cases to analyze inter-judge sentencing disparity. The comprehensiveness of our data combined with the specific sentencing laws that apply to drug trafficking allow us to control very precisely for variations in offense conduct, offender characteristics, and criminal history. We develop a new statistical model of sentencing disparity that we believe is more accurate than previous attempts.

Keywords: sentencing, disparity, discretion, drugs, smuggling, judges

Suggested Citation

Mason, Caleb E. and Bjerk, David, Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity on the Federal Bench: An Examination of Drug Smuggling Cases in the Southern District of California (2013). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2013; Claremont McKenna College Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2256768

Caleb E. Mason (Contact Author)

Brown White & Osborn LLP ( email )

333 S. Hope St.
40th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
United States
2134062949 (Phone)
2134062949 (Fax)

David Bjerk

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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