The myth of judicial leniency in sentencing

Shari Seidman Diamond*, Loretta J. Stalans

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Scopus citations


    Opinion polls report that the pubic is increasingly critical of perceived judicial leniency in sentencing. To examine the degree and pattern of judicial leniency, Illinois judges and laypersons were asked to impose sentences on the same offenders. Contrary to the myth of judicial leniency, the sentences given by laypersons tended to be equal to or less severe than those given by judges. Explanations are offered for the divergence between myth and reality, including the availability heuristic and the impact of biased recall.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)73-89
    Number of pages17
    JournalBehavioral Sciences & the Law
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Law

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The myth of judicial leniency in sentencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this