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Starr, Sonja B.

Professor of Law
Codirector, Empirical Legal Studies Center

3230 South Hall
Sonja B. Starr joined the Law School faculty in fall 2009 and teaches first-year Criminal Law, International Criminal Law, and a seminar on the collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Her research interests include prosecutorial conduct, sentencing law and policy, remedies for violations of criminal defendants' rights, and re-entry of ex-offenders. Her research methods include quantitative empirical assessment of the effects of criminal justice policies as well as analysis of legal theory and doctrine. Before coming to Michigan Law, Prof. Starr taught at the University of Maryland School of Law and spent two years at Harvard Law School as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law. Prof. Starr has clerked for the Hon. Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for the Hon. Mohamed Shahabuddeen of the shared Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Between these clerkships, she was an associate with Goldstein & Howe, PC, in Washington, D.C., a firm specializing in U.S. Supreme Court litigation. Prof. Starr earned her JD from Yale Law School, where she served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and was awarded the American Bar Association's annual Ross Student Writing Prize. She received her AB from Harvard, summa cum laude, and is also an alumna of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program in Quantitative Methods.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

"Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases." Am. L. & Econ. Rev. 17, no. 1 (2015): 127-59.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | Oxford Journals (UMich users) | Oxford Journals

Explaining Race Gaps in Policing: Normative and Empirical Challenges. U of Michigan Law & Economics Research Paper No.15-003. Working Paper.
Full Text: SSRN

Co-author. "Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Sentences." M. M. Rehavi, co-author. J. Pol. Econ. 122, no. 6 (2014): 1320-54.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | JSTOR

"Evidence-Based Sentencing and the Scientific Rationalization of Discrimination." Stan. L. Rev. 66, no. 4 (2014): 803-72.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

​"On the Role of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Criminal Justice Policy: A Response to The Imprisoner's Dilemma." Iowa L. Rev. Bull. 98 (2013): 97-111.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN​​​

​Co-author. "On Estimating Disparity and Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply to the U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff." M. M. Rehavi, co-author. Yale L. J. Online 123 (2013): 273-95.​​
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

Co-author. "Mandatory Sentencing and Racial Disparity, Assessing the Role of Prosecutors and the Effects of Booker." M. M. Rehavi, co-author. Yale L. J. 123, no. 1 (2013): 2-80.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

"Did Booker Increase Sentencing Disparity?" Fed. Sent. R. 25, no. 5 (2013): 323-6.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | Lexis | JSTOR (UMich users) | JSTOR


Speaker, "Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases," Harvard Law & Economics Workshop, September 2013.

Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar in Law & Economics, Aix-Marseille University, France, August 2013.

Speaker ("Plea Bargaining") and panel moderator ("Year in Review"), National Sentencing Guidelines Seminar, Orlando, FL, May 2013.

Speaker, "Estimating Gender Disparity in Federal Criminal Cases," Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, November 2012.

Speaker, "Racial and Demographic Disparity in Sentencing," National Sentencing Policy Institute, Memphis, TN, October 2012.

Panelist, "The Color of Justice: Racial Disparity in the Criminal Process," Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Maui, August 2012.

"Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences," National Bureau of Economic Research Summer Institute, Joint Session of the Crime and Labor Studies Working Groups (coauthor, with M. Marit Rehavi), July 2012.

Speaker, "Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting, May 2012.

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