Author

Sean Daly

Publication Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Ward, Artemus, 1971-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Department

Department of Political Science

LCSH

Political science||Criminology||Sentences (Criminal procedure)--Washington (State)||Criminal justice, Administration of--Political aspects--Washington (State)||Judges--Political activity--Washington (State)

Abstract

American trial judges exercise an enormous power when they sentence criminal offenders to a specific length of incarceration. Does the partisan affiliation of the trial judge affect the final determination in an offender's length of incarceration? Using a psychological framework, I examine the effects that partisanship, and ideology have on a judge's perception of the root causes of crime and the primary purpose that sentencing should serve in our criminal justice system. Using a unique proxy measure for judicial partisanship I analyze violent felony cases in Washington State from 2000 to 2006. I find that a Republican judge hands down a sentence 4.4% longer than a Democratic judge, controlling for other case factors. Additional analysis shows that this finding is most prominent in rape cases, in which a Republican judge can be expected to hand down a sentence 34% longer than his Democratic counterpart. I conclude with several possible explanations on why rape cases would trigger an exceptionally longer sentence from a Republican judge.

Comments

Advisors: Artemus Ward.||Committee members: Scot Schraufnagel; Mathew J. Streb.

Extent

62 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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