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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 152146 Find in a Library
Title: Study of Criminal Justice Discretion
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:(1994)  Pages:107-123
Author(s): J L Miller; J J Sloan III
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 17
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Focusing on prosecutorial and judicial discretion, this research empirically examined indicators of charging and sentence reduction and the criminal sanctions meted out to a representative sample of felons convicted in one midwestern State court in 1984.
Abstract: A multivariate analysis examined the influence of case, personal, social, and criminal justice process factors. Results revealed that the typical defendant was a 25-year-old male with two or three prior felony arrests and one prior misdemeanor arrests. Offenders were charged with violent crimes in 21 percent of the cases; only 32 percent of the victims of violence were strangers to their offenders. Victims and offenders were of the same race in more than 88 percent of the violence cases. Property offenses accounted for 40 percent of the cases, weapons offenses for 20 percent of the cases, and drug law offenses for 17 percent of the cases. Findings revealed substantial amounts of prosecutorial and judicial discretion. Judges discretion was structured only moderately by sentencing guidelines that prescribe only a range of suggested punishments. If criminal justice policymakers in this jurisdiction want to use a guidelines approach for structuring discretion they should structure all major prosecutorial decisions by office regulations and make sentencing guidelines presumptive and more definite. Tables, notes, appended defendant profile, and 72 references
Main Term(s): Court research
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Judicial discretion; Prosecutorial discretion
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