Kids who are sentenced by college-football-loving judges who are disappointed after unexpected team losses are finding themselves behind bars for longer than kids who are sentenced after wins or predicted losses.
That’s the gist of a new working paper by a pair of economists at Louisiana State University. It sounds almost comical, like an Onion headline, at first glance: “Judge Sentences Teen to Two Years After Louisiana Tigers Fall to Wisconsin Badgers.” But, insists Naci Mocan, an economics professor at LSU and a co-author (with a fellow professor, Ozkan Eren) of “Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles,” it’s not far off.
Marc Schindler, the executive director of the Justice Policy Institute and a former public defender in Baltimore, said he found the study fascinating. While he’s not convinced judges will take it to heart, he said defenders might see the study as a tool. If he was defending a kid in Louisiana in the week after a big LSU upset and knew the judge had attended the school, he might say something like, “Now, Your Honor, I know we all had a rough day on Saturday, but we all know we’re not going to let that impact our decision making…” Maybe it would backfire, but maybe it wouldn’t.
- Louisiana Judges Issue Harsher Sentences When the LSU Football Team Loses (theatlantic.com)
- Oh, to be young and in Louisiana… (blutarsky.wordpress.com)
- Wisconsin stuns No. 5 LSU in season-opener, 16-14 (wdsu.com)
- Judge’s Football Team Loses, Juvenile Sentences Go Up (theatlantic.com)
- Study: College Football Upsets Affect Judges’ Sentencing (insidehighered.com)
- Louisiana Judges Issue Harsher Sentences When LSU Loses Football Games (complex.com)