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Lee publishes articles on drug sentencing trends and influences on defendant decision making

Jacqueline Lee

Jacqueline Lee, an assistant professor of criminal justice in the School of Public Service, recently published two articles.

Trends in Sentencing of Federal Drug Offenders: Findings From U.S. District Courts 2002–2017” appeared in the Sept. 18 edition of Journal of Drug Issues. Her study used 16 years of federal criminal drug sentences to examine trends in two criminal sentencing outcomes: whether a defendant received a prison sentence and the length of a prison sentence.

Results demonstrate that sentencing for federal drug crimes has become less severe over time. However, there is substantial differences in sentencing across different drug types, with pharmaceutical opioid cases receiving the least leniency over time and methamphetamine cases experiencing the lowest reduction in the length of prison sentences.

Satisfaction, Legitimacy, and Guilty Pleas: How Perceptions and Attorneys Affect Defendant Decision-Making” recently appeared in Justice Quarterly. This article explores how attorney satisfaction and court legitimacy affect defendant choice.

In it, Lee assesses the impact of a defense attorney’s evaluation of a plea offer on the defendant’s willingness to accept a plea, and examines whether this is moderated by defendants’ individual views. Findings demonstrate that higher attorney satisfaction and higher court legitimacy are associated with higher willingness to accept a plea.