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NCJ Number: 31725 Find in a Library
Title: BITCH THREATENS, BUT SELDOM BITES - A STUDY OF HABITUAL CRIMINAL SENTENCING IN DOUGLAS COUNTY (NE)
Journal: CREIGHTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:8  Dated:(JULY 1975)  Pages:893-922
Author(s): W J COOK
Corporate Author: Creighton University
Creighton Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: Creighton University
Omaha, NE 68178
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A STUDY OF THE APPLICATION OF THE HABITUAL CRIMINAL SANCTION IN 82 ELIGIBLE NEBRASKA CASES, UNDERTAKEN TO DETERMINE PATTERNS OF APPLICATION, REASONS FOR ITS APPLICATION AND SENTENCE LENGTHS FOR HABITUAL CRIMINALS.
Abstract: THE CURRENT NEBRASKA STATUTE PROVIDES THAT UPON THE THIRD CONVICTION OF A FELONY WHERE BOTH PRIOR CONVICTIONS HAVE CARRIED PRISON TERMS, THE DEFENDANT IS TO BE SENTENCED UNDER THE 10-TO-60 YEAR TERM OF THE HABITUAL CRIMINAL STATUTE. THE SENTENCE UNDER THE STATUTE IS MANDATORY, BUT IT IS UP TO THE PROSECUTOR'S DISCRETION TO PRESS THE SUPPLEMENTARY COMPLAINT UNDER THE HABITUAL CRIMINAL STATUTE. THE AUTHOR PROVIDES A REVIEW OF PAST STUDIES, ARTICLES AND INQUIRIES INTO THE SENTENCING OF HABITUAL OFFENDERS IN THE UNITED STATES. THESE SHOW THAT RECIDIVIST LAWS TEND TO BE APPLIED IN ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE QUALIFIED CASES, AND THAT THERE IS LITTLE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE CRIMINAL HISTORY AND SENTENCING AS A RECIDIVIST. IN THIS STUDY, ELIGIBLE DOUGLAS COUNTY CASES FROM 1971 AND 1972 WERE EXAMINED. OF THE 82 CASES FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR HABITUAL CRIMINAL SANCTIONS, ONLY THREE RECEIVED SUCH SANCTIONS. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THIS OUTCOME ARE DISCUSSED. THE AUTHOR MAINTAINS THAT EITHER THE STATUTE IS BEING USED WITH A GREAT DEGREE OF ARBITRARINESS OR IT IS BEING CONSCIOUSLY USED AS A THREAT TO INDUCE PLEAS OF GUILTY FROM DEFENDANTS. HE CONCLUDES THAT IN EITHER CASE THE PRESENT CONSTITUTIONALITY, FIRST, OF THE SENTENCES RECEIVED BY THE THREE MEN SENTENCED AS RECIDIVISTS; SECOND, THE CONVICTION OF THE MEN WHOSE RECORDS SHOW GUILTY PLEAS AND WHO WERE THREATENED WITH IMPOSITION OF THE HABITUAL CRIMINAL STATUTE, AND, THIRD, THE NEBRASKA HABITUAL CRIMINAL STATUTE ITSELF ARE OPEN TO ATTACK. SUCH ATTACKS COULD BE BASED UPON DISCRIMINATORY ENFORCEMENT, COERCED PLEAS OF GUILTY OR THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL NATURE OF THE STATUTE'S APPLICATION. REPEAL OR REFORM OF THE STATUTE ARE RECOMMENDED BY THE AUTHOR. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Criminal histories; Habitual offenders; Incarceration; Law reform; Mandatory Sentencing; Nebraska; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing/Sanctions; State laws
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