The Fairest of Them All Equal Justice Awards named Judge Tom Dannheisser the “Fairest of Them All” in Circuit 1
The awards provide a scientific basis to objectively evaluate felony court judges in Florida’s 20 judicial circuits with respect to impartiality and overall fairness in criminal sentencing. Five years of fiscal sentencing data from the Florida Department of Corrections was selected from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2020 and statistically analyzed to determine the top three fairest judges in each respective judicial circuit. As different circuits have a myriad of sentencing practices, judges were only compared with judges in their respective circuit.
Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Drug Possession, Drug Sales and Grand Theft sentences were selected for analysis because they are frequently brought before felony court judges in all circuits across the entire state on a weekly basis. All minimum mandatory sentences were excluded because judges have no sentencing discretion when the state files a charge that carries a statutory minimum mandatory sanction.
After undergoing an analysis of the aforesaid CPC Scoresheets, the top three judges from each respective judicial circuit were identified. A multi-step analysis was undertaken to determine the fairest judges as follows:
1. Identified the circuit-wide average sentences for Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Drug Possession, Drug Sales and Grand Theft
2. Identified the average sentence for whites for each respective offense
3. Identified the average sentence for blacks for each respective offense
4. Identified judges who sentenced two more whites and two or more blacks for each respective offense
5. Compared and contrasted the average sentence with respect to whites and blacks according to each respective offense
6. Identified and ranked the top three judges whose sentences were the closest to the aggregate average sentences for Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Drug Possession, Drug Salesand Grand Theft
Kudos to Judge Dannheisser.