102 Iowa Law Review Online 320
15 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017 Last revised: 1 Jan 2019
Date Written: June 27, 2017
The Sentencing Commission and the judiciary do not see eye to eye when it comes to punishing white-collar fraudsters. Recent survey data collected by Judge Bennett and his co-authors confirms that judges prefer to sentence fraudsters at or below the minimum of the Sentencing Guidelines range. This article asks whether that data should give the Sentencing Commission pause. The survey results might just substantiate the Sentencing Commission's worry that judges are prone to cognitive bias in favor of white-collar defendants, with whom they often overlap demographically. After suggesting that judges have no particular insight into the factors relevant to fraud sentencing, the article assesses the matter from criminal theory first principles: deterrence, rehabilitation, and retribution. It concludes - contrary to the apparent views of most judges and many white-collar criminal law scholars - that we should not be so quick to dismiss the guidelines as too harsh.
Keywords: White-Collar Crime, Sentencing, Fraud, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, Retribution
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