Lydia Brashear Tiede has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, a JD from American University and expects to receive her PhD in political science from the University of California, San Diego in June of 2008. She studies American and comparative judicial politics. Broadly speaking, she studies the effect of legal reform, in the form of legislation and higher court mandates, on lower court decision-making. To this end, she has analyzed the effect of the U.S. federal sentencing guidelines and recent reforms to these guidelines on district court discretion. She also has done empirical and field research on Chile’s legal reform converting its criminal law system from inquisitorial to adversarial. Other areas of research include assessing the effect of criminal law reforms in the states, the United Kingdom, and Costa Rica and deciphering the meaning of judicial independence and the rule of law in emerging and developed democracies.