Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
Harvard Law School
June 17, 2017

Judicial Politics and Sentencing Decisions ∗
By Alma Cohen and Crystal Yang

We also use proprietary data from the Transac- tional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which provides sentencing data obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The data do not contain defendant demographics or USSC data prior to 2004 includes information on the exact sentencing day, but this variable is not available in later years. Guidelines application information, but defendants are linked to the sentencing judge. The TRAC data also provide basic information on the sentencing district, sentencing month and year, as well as the length of any probation and sentence imposed, and the amount of any fines imposed. To link detailed defendant and crime characteristics to sentencing judge, we match sentencing records from the USSC to data provided by TRAC. Specifically, we match on district court, sentencing year, sentencing month, sentence length in months, probation length in months, amount of total monetary fines, whether the case ended by trial or plea agreement, and whether the case resulted in a life sentence. On the basis of these characteristics, we successfully match approximately 50 percent of all USSC cases from fiscal years 1999-2015. The final matched dataset consists of 549,609 cases during the sample period........[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2017
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations