Today’s “Hanging Judge” May Be Young And Female

A new study shows that younger female judges are tougher on serious crime than their male and older female colleagues.

Researchers found that, on average, younger female judges (under age 56.4) sentenced defendants convicted of “high harm” crimes to 24% more incarceration (4.9 years more) than did their male colleagues, and to 25% more incarceration (5.1years more) than did their older female colleagues.

The study, published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, is entitled, “The Intersectionality of Age and Gender on the Bench: Are Younger Female Judges Harsher With Serious Crimes?” The lead author is Morris B. Hoffman, a Colorado judge and member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

Although the title poses a question, the study concludes that younger female judges are significantly harsher in sentencing “high harm” crimes or serious felonies.

The researchers found that age, gender and the degree of harm of the crime standing alone did not account for the difference:  “Only when we considered age, gender, and harm levels together did we see these three factors impact—and impact substantially—the sentences imposed by these judges,”  Interestingly, length of service on the bench was not a factor.

The study offers no explanation for the findings, though one possible explanation is that younger women tend to be more punitive than men when it comes to men-on-women violence and crimes against children.

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The Biggest Workplace Bully: Gun Violence

Some guy walks into a movie theater and shoots 71 people …

It sounds like a joke waiting for a punch line. But the joke is America’s lack of credible gun control and the inane theory advanced by America’s gun lobby that the U.S. Constitution guarantees any American the right to own an AR-15 assault rifle.  The reality is that gun violence in the workplace traumatizes not only the direct victims but also bystanders, police and paramedics, and the workers who witness it.

James Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate student armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, burst into a Colorado movie theater’s screening of The Dark Knight Rises, set off tear gas canisters and opened fire – killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. He also had a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun and a 40-caliber Glock handgun.

Police arrested him near his parked car in the back of the movie theater. Another 40-caliber Glock handgun was found in the vehicle, and more than a thousand rounds of ammo. In recent days, Holmes had purchased 6,000 rounds of ammo over the internet.

Holmes, a floundering graduate student, was wearing a ballistic helmet, a gas mask, a throat protector, a tactical ballistic vest, a groin protector and ballistic leggings. Holmes had colored his hair red and told federal authorities he was the psychotic Batman villain “the Joker.”

He surrendered without incident.

There was no shortage of tears on Friday, including police officials traumatized by the massacre and movie theater employees  reeling from a workplace that had become a bloody battleground.

The dead included a six year old girl named Veronica.