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Latest News

Criminal Justice Algorithm Predicts Risk of Biased Sentencing

“Researchers created an algorithm that predicts risks of biased, overly punitive sentencing. The tool performs with similar accuracy — and similar limits — to risk assessment algorithms already used to influence pretrial and parole decisions, authors say. A new algorithm aims to assess the likelihood of defendants being treated unfairly in court. The tool considers details that ought to be immaterial to the ruling — such as the judge’s and defendant’s gender and race — and then predicts how likely the judge is to award an unusually long sentence. This can suggest when socio-demographic details may be swaying judgments, resulting in especially punitive treatments.

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Idaho Justice Project and University of Pennsylvania created the algorithm for U.S. district court cases. They presented it in a report during the June Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency (ACM FAccT).


Statement of PACDL President Patrick A. Casey in Response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization  

Harrisburg, June 29, 2022 -- Following is a statement by Patrick A. Casey, Esquire, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization issued on Friday, June 24, 2022, will have a significant impact on the justice system nationwide. The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) takes no position on abortion. In the weeks, months, and years ahead, PACDL will provide leadership, expertise, and training in evolving areas of law by expanding on its forum entitled “How the New Criminalization of Abortion Will Impact Your Practice” held two months before the Dobbs decision.

We will be responsive to legislative processes and acts which curtail Constitutional protections or substantive due process rights. We will petition for funding to support our public defenders and the influx of new cases they are likely to shoulder. And, at all times, PACDL will be vigilant in its efforts to help our members defend any client whose life or liberty is impacted by this decision now or in the future.

Our mission as an organization is to ensure that we provide our members with the resources and support to fulfill our duty as criminal defense lawyers to effectively represent the accused.