Missouri Policy Journal


Conventional wisdom provides that a criminal defendant who apologizes for wrongful actions committed may be shown mercy by the sentencing court. While some studies support the conventional wisdom, an apology sometimes has the opposite effect and results in a more severe sentence for the defendant. This study attempted to examine the effect a defendant’s apology had on a sentence handed down by a judge or commissioner sitting in the Circuit Courts of St. Charles County, St. Louis City, and St. Louis County, Missouri.