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NCJ Number: 201951 Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Risk Assessment: The Impact of Risk, Stakes, and Jurisdiction
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:14  Issue:3  Dated:September 2003  Pages:361-376
Author(s): Michael S. Vigorita
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined variables that affect judicial judgments of offender risk.
Abstract: Judicial judgments about the likelihood an offender will commit another offense are integral to sentencing decisions. However, little is known about how judges make determinations about risk because they rarely explicitly record their assessments of risk. The author analyzed 1,073 explicitly recorded judicial risk assessments in felony cases in order to examine factors affecting such judgments. Specifically, the author examined the influence of factors such as offender characteristics, offense characteristics, and contextual variables. Results of logistic regression analyses reveal that there are few offender-specific variables that influence judicial perceptions of risk. One of the strongest influences on judicial assessment was the effect of sentencing jurisdiction. Strong differences were noted across types of counties with regard to risk assessment. Judges in suburban counties were much more likely to assess offenders as high risk in comparison to their urban and rural counterparts. This finding indicates more research is needed to understand how court culture and county resources affect judicial decisionmaking. Table, notes, references
Main Term(s): Judicial decisions
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Sentencing/Sanctions; Threat assessment
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