Amoral Numbers and Narcotics Sentencing

22 Pages Posted: 29 May 2013

See all articles by Mark William Osler

Mark William Osler

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

Date Written: 2013


Americans are fascinated with lists and rankings. Magazines catch the eye with covers promising “92 Cute Summer Looks,” college football fans anxiously await the release of pre-season rankings, and law schools have reshaped themselves in reaction to the rankings released by U.S. News and World Report. With each of these, though, the lists often do more to create a reality than to reflect one, with distinct negative effects. The same problem plagues federal narcotics sentencing, where rankings of the relative seriousness of crimes are embedded in sentencing guidelines and minimum sentences required by statutes, though they are rooted neither in empirical evidence nor a consistent theory of problem-solving.

Keywords: criminal law, sentencing, sentencing guidelines, war on drugs, federal sentencing, federal narcotics sentencing, drug crimes, rankings

Suggested Citation

Osler, Mark William, Amoral Numbers and Narcotics Sentencing (2013). Valparaiso University Law Review, 2013, Forthcoming, U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-21, Available at SSRN:

Mark William Osler (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
(254) 717-7032 (Phone)

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