Judicial Sentencing Disclosure Act Exposed

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The Judicial Sentencing Disclosure Act is listed under ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force and was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

This bill requires that courts maintain a record of a judge's sentencing that will be subjected to public scrutiny. This will incentivize judges to increase sentences, regardless of whether they are justified, so that their "numbers" don't make them appear soft-on-crime (especially likely if judges are elected). Judicial sentencing is far more complex than can be captured through "numbers." Evidence suggests that longer sentences do little to improve long-term public safety and often do not help a person become rehabilitated. Creative alternatives to incarceration will not be reflected in a judge's "numbers." Incarcerating a person is also very expensive for taxpayers. Incarceration does, however, increase the profits of the Corrections Corporation of America, a former member of the Executive Committee of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force.

ALEC Bill Text


This Act would require that the clerk of every district court maintain a complete public record of each judge's sentencing history, available for inspection by the public during normal working hours.

Model Legislation

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. {Title.}

This Act may be cited as the Judicial Sentencing Disclosure Act.

Section 2. {Record of criminal sentences.}

The clerk of the district court shall maintain a register listing under the name of each judge all criminal convictions over which the judge has presided, in chronological order beginning on or after [a certain date], to include the following information:

(A) the name of the case;

(B) the charges against the defendant;

(C) the charges of which the defendant was convicted;

(D) the sentence handed down by the judge; and

(E) the date the sentence was handed down.

Section 3. {Public record.}

The register shall be a public record of the state and shall be available for inspection at the office of the clerk during regular office hours and at such other times as may be provided by law.

Section 4. {Severability clause.}

Section 5. {Repealer clause.}

Section 6. {Effective date.}

ALEC's Sourcebook of American State Legislation 1995