Law and Contemporary Problems

A quarterly law journal publishing issues devoted to papers on a particular topic of contemporary interest. Topics usually reflect an interdisciplinary perspective with contributions by lawyers, economists, social scientists, scholars in other disciplines

Articles from Vol. 76, No. 1, Winter

A Global Perspective on Sentencing Reforms
The articles published in this issue of Law and Contemporary Problems examine the effects of different sentencing reforms across the world. While the effects of sentencing reforms in the United States have been studied extensively, this is the first...
Determinate Sentencing and American Exceptionalism: The Underpinnings and Effects of Cross-National Differences in the Regulation of Sentencing Discretion
I INTRODUCTION As is true of any other practice that involves the application of rules by human beings, sentencing practices are suffused with the exercise of discretion. (1) In light of a range of permanent conditions that shape the setting...
Do Sentencing Guidelines Increase Prosecutorial Power? an Empirical Study
I INTRODUCTION Traditionally, judges have had tremendous flexibility in sentencing. Offering judges maximum discretion in the sentencing process allows them to consider not only an offender's criminal history and the severity of the crime committed,...
Federal White Collar Sentencing in the United States: A Work in Progress
I INTRODUCTION At first blush, it seems odd for an American contributor to an international conference on sentencing to focus on "high end" federal white collar sentencing. After all, federal cases make up a relatively small part of the U.S....
Is Sentencing Reform a Lost Cause? A Historical Perspective on Conceptual Problems in Sentencing Research
For Nietzsche, we are more likely to engage in the development of "semiotic fictions" that provide us with an illusory state of understanding and mastery of the universe. He has emphasized that rather than search for the "truth" resting on...
Lessons from Two Failures: Sentencing for Cocaine and Child Pornography under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in the United States
I INTRODUCTION The Federal Sentencing Guidelines adopted in the United States in 1987 and rendered advisory by the Supreme Court's decision in 2005 in United States v. Booker (1) have been the subject of a wide variety of criticisms over the...
Moderate and Non-Arbitrary Sentencing without Guidelines: The German Experience
I INTRODUCTION The participants in the symposium for which this paper was written discussed sentencing reforms in different countries. Compared to the situation in other countries (such as Australia, Israel, England and Wales, and the United...
Principles, Pragmatism, and Politics: The Evolution of Washington State's Sentencing Guidelines
I INTRODUCTION Although the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines have received much attention (and criticism), (1) we do well to remember that the United States is a federal system, and that each of the fifty states has its own sentencing rules...
Pursuing Consistency in an Individualistic Sentencing Framework: If You Know Where You're Going, How Do You Know When You've Got There?'
I INTRODUCTION Sentencing in Australia is founded upon two premises that are in perennial conflict: individualized justice and consistency. The first holds that courts should impose sentences that are just and appropriate according to all of...
Sentencing Guidelines in England and Wales: Missed Opportunities?
I INTRODUCTION In England and Wales, offenses typically have fixed maximum penalties assigned to them, usually in the form of a length of custody or fine amount, and some offenses may also have mandatory minimum sentences. (1) In addition, the...
Sentencing Guidelines in England and Wales: Recent Developments and Emerging Issues
I INTRODUCTION To date, scholarship on sentencing guidelines has understandably focused on the experiences across the United States, where guidelines have been evolving since the 1970s. Unlike other American innovations, the U.S. guideline schemes...
Sentencing in Germany: Explaining Long-Term Stability in the Structure of Criminal Sanctions and Sentencing
I INTRODUCTION In the last decades, much has been written on significant changes in the use of prison sentences and imprisonment. These changes are assumed to reflect growing punitiveness and a rapidly spreading demand for public protection through...
The Effects of the Offender's Race, Ethnicity, and Sex on Federal Sentencing Outcomes in the Guidelines Era
I INTRODUCTION Social scientists have conducted dozens of studies designed to untangle the relationship between race and sentence severity. (1) In fact, this issue "may well have been the major research inquiry for studies of sentencing in the 1970s...