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NCJ Number: 147956 Find in a Library
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(1994)  Pages:41-50
Author(s): N P Unnithan
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 10
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using interviews with officials of two Texas counties, this study examined the criminal justice system's processing of homicide cases involving child victims.
Abstract: The participants included nine child protective services workers, 11 attorneys in prosecutors' offices, four police chiefs and sheriffs, four coroners and medical investigators, five personnel of victim-witness units, and five judges involved in case processing. The interviews lasted 2-3 hours each and were conducted from July 1987 through January 1988. Results revealed that contingencies affect the process, even in this normatively serious crime, at two levels. Systemic issues include problems in classifying deaths due to varying forensic medical resources, the unexpected philosophical positioning of criminal justice officials, and the use of statutes other than homicide. The last is done in pursuit of more specific penalties where the evidence might sustain only manslaughter charges. Case-specific situational elements include victim-offender relationships, the gender of the perpetrator, the presence of mental or physical disabilities in the victim, media publicity, the use of discipline as a defense, and the manner of death. Notes and 27 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Case processing; Criminology; Homicide; Texas
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