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The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
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NCJ Number: NCJ 153256     Find in a Library
Title: Spouse Murder Defendants in Large Urban Counties
  Document URL: Text PDF 
  Agency Summary: Agency Summary 
Author(s): P A Langan ; J M Dawson
Corporate Author: Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 30
  Annotation: This study provides information on the processing of a representative sample of 540 spousal murder cases disposed of in 1988.
Abstract: The sample was drawn from State prosecutor files in 33 of the Nation's 75 largest urban counties. Of the 540 defendants, 59 percent were husbands, and 41 percent were wives. Seventy percent of defendants were charged with first-degree murder. Forty-three percent of the defendants pleaded guilty, and 44 percent pleaded not guilty and stood trial; 13 percent were not prosecuted. Of those who went to trial, 63 percent were tried by a jury, and the remaining 37 percent were tried by a judge. Together, judges and juries acquitted 16 percent of the 238 spouse murder defendants and convicted 84 percent. Of the 431 defendants convicted, 89 percent were sentenced to a State prison, 1 percent were sentenced to a county jail, and the remaining 10 percent received probation. An estimated 12 percent of the 431 convicted spouse murderers received a sentence of life imprisonment, and 1 percent received the death penalty. Excluding life and death sentences, the average prison term imposed was 13 years. Wife defendants had a lower conviction rate than husband defendants, and those wives who were convicted were less likely than husband defendants to be sentenced to prison. Defendant's and victim's race was unrelated to case outcome. Information is also provided on processing time and the role of victim provocation. 37 tables
Main Term(s): Court statistics
Index Term(s): Defendants ; Sentencing/Sanctions ; Dispositions ; Marital murder ; Male female offender comparisons
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
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Type: Statistics
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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