Deborah Beim, Tom S Clark and Benjamin E Lauderdale, “The Effects of Panel Assignment on the US Court of Appeals in Death Penalty Cases”

We use the random assignment of three judge panels on the US Court of Appeals to measure the preferences of individual judges for granting relief in death penalty appeals, and how they are aggregated into decisions. We provide evidence that judges on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th, 6th, 9th, and 11th Circuits apply highly inconsistent thresholds for relief from death penalty sentences. In future versions of this paper, we will examine the extent to which en banc and Supreme Court review reduce the inconsistencies that arise as well as the ultimate effects of random panel assignment on whether and when appellants are executed.

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