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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67151 Find in a Library
Title: EXTERNAL VALIDITY OF RESEARCH IN LEGAL PSYCHOLOGY
Journal: LAW AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR  Volume:3  Issue:1-2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:39-70
Author(s): V J KONECNI; E B EBBESEN
Corporate Author: Plenum Publishing Corp
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Publishing Corp
New York, NY 10013-1576
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH ON BAIL SETTING AND SENTENCING IS USED TO CRITICIZE LABORATORY SIMULATIONS IN LEGAL PSYCHOLOGY AND TO BUTTRESS A PROPOSED TASK-AND-METHOD SPECIFICITY APPROACH.
Abstract: LEGAL DECISIONS ON BAIL SETTING AND ON SENTENCING WERE INVESTIGATED SEPARATELY USING SEVERAL RESEARCH METHODS AND SUBJECT TYPES. IN THE FIRST STUDY OF BAIL SETTING, 18 SAN DIEGO JUDGES WERE ASKED TO DETERMINE BAIL IN SIMULATED CARES WHOSE VARIABLE FACTORS WERE LENGTH OF AREA RESIDENCE, LOCALE OF SUBJECT'S FAMILY, SUBJECT'S EMPLOYMENT, AND THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S BAIL RECOMMENDATIONS. RESULTS SHOWED THAT JUDGES' DECISIONS REQUIRED PEOPLE WHO HAD LITTLE REASON TO REMAIN IN THE AREA WHILE AWAITING TRAIL TO POST MORE BAIL THAN PEOPLE WITH LOCAL TIES. A SECOND STUDY OBTAINED INFORMATION FROM ACTUAL BAIL HEARINGS. RESULTS SHOWED THAT THE LOCAL TIES FACTOR WAS INSIGNIFICANT AND THAT JUDGES RELIED HEAVILY ON ATTORNEYS' BAIL RECOMMENDATIONS. IN THE FIRST OF SEVERAL STUDIES ON SENTENCING, STUDENTS INTERVIEWED EIGHT SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES WHO IDENTIFIED NUMEROUS FACTORS IMPORTANT TO COMPLEX SENTENCING DECISIONS: THE NATURE OF THE CRIME, THE PRIOR RECORD OF THE DEFENDANT, HIS OR HER FUTURE BEHAVIOR AS A FUNCTION OF THE TYPE AND LENGTH OF SENTENCE, THE JUSTIFICTION FOR THE CRIME, THE CONTENT OF THE PROBATION OFFICER'S REPORT, ETC. INFORMATION ON FACTORS IMPORTANT TO SENTENCING WERE OBTAINED FROM FOUR SETS OF SUBJECTS (TWO INVOLVING STUDENTS, AND ONE EACH WITH JUDGES AND PROBATION OFFICERS AS SUBJECTS). METHODS USED WERE QUESTIONNAIRES, RATING-SCALE RESPONSES, AND EXPERIMENTAL SIMULATIONS. OBSERVATION OF LIVE SENTENCING HEARING AND ARCHIVAL ANALYSIS OF FILES PERTAINING TO SENTENCING YIELDED RESULTS WHICH WERE THEN COMPARED USING DIFFERENT METHODS AND DIFFERENT SUBJECT POPULATIONS. NO TWO METHODS PRODUCED IDENTICAL RESULTS IN TERMS OF THE TYPE, NUMBER, AND IMPORTANCE OF VARIOUS FACTORS. AS MANY AS EIGHT FACTORS WERE IDENTIFIED BUT NO IMPORTANT FACTORS WERE IDENTIFIED DURING OBSERVATION OF LIVE SENTENCE HEARINGS. REASONS FOR HAVING MORE CONFIDENCE IN THE RESULTS OF THE ARCHIVAL ANALYSIS THAN IN THOSE OBTAINED BY OTHER METHODS ARE OUTLINED. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (DEG)
Index Term(s): Bail/Financial Release; Decisionmaking; Judicial discretion; Research methods; Sentencing/Sanctions; Simulation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67151

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