January 29, 2007 17:26 Age: 7 yrs

The New York Times Op-Ed Piece Features Research by Joanna Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Law

Joanna Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Law

The work of Joanna Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Law, was the subject of an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times. Written by Shepherd's coauthor, a Colorado state trial judge, the piece discussed the findings of the econometric study Shepherd conducted with the judge and Paul Rubin, an economist at Emory University. 

The study examined the effectiveness of public defenders. Using regression analyses to control for several variables and measuring the amount of prison time received, the results indicated that public defenders were less effective than their private counterparts. After controlling for the charges filed, the average sentence for clients of public defenders was almost three years longer than the average for clients of private lawyers. 

Their explanation for the results: public defenders are not just overworked and underpaid, they may represent clients who, by self-selection, tend to have worse cases.

Read the full Op-Ed online > 
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