Courts & Justice Law Journal
Advocatus Iustitia Aeque
1 Cts. & Just. L.J.
ARTICLE | VOLUME 1, ISSUE 2
Does a Trial Penalty Exist in a Criminal Justice System that Provides a Right to Jury Sentencing?
by Kate Doyle Feingold, JD and Amy Dezember, George Mason University
1 Cts. & Just. L.J. 168 (2019)
Sentencing research largely supports the notion that defendants who plead guilty receive substantially shorter sentences than observably equivalent people who were convicted at trial, indicating that defendants receive a discount for accepting a plea offer from the prosecution. This is called the trial penalty. The current study investigates whether a trial penalty exists in the Marine Corps justice system, a jurisdiction that offers jury sentencing in criminal cases. Using Marine Corps courts-martial data from 2012-2015, the study finds no trial penalty effect and finds that juries are less likely to impose severe types of punishment as compared to judges. Jury sentencing may have the potential to reduce the impact of the trial penalty. The paper discusses implications for public policy, theory and future research.
Andrew M. Crespo
Emily M. Strak
/ Fall 2019 / C&JLJ ___________________________