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NCJ Number: 70231 Find in a Library
Title: He Takes Some of My Time - I Take Some of His - An Analysis of Judicial Sentencing Patterns in Jury Cases
Journal: Law and Society Review  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1980)  Pages:323-341
Author(s): T M Uhlman; N D Walker
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the proposition that jury defendants in an urban trial court are sentenced more harshly than nonjury defendants.
Abstract: While the jury has been widely credited with contributing to the best elements of the American judicial system, the streetwise defendant argues that the criminal court penalizes individuals who pursue their constitutionally guaranteed right to a full jury trial. This study drew upon case histories of 29,295 convicted felons in a major eastern urban community to (1) analyze the overall relationship between the mode of case dispositions and sentencing for major felony crimes, controlling for case seriousness; and (2) examine the sentencing patterns of individual judges by dispositional mode, controlling for criminality. Data show that the cost of pursuing constitutionally guaranteed jury trial rights is high; jury defendants are punished with substantially greater harshness than are plea and bench convictees in essentially similar cases. Regardless of sentencing philosophy, virtually every judge who sentenced jury, bench, and plea defendants sentenced jury defendants far more harshly and sent them to jail more frequently. Stiffer penalties for jury defendants appears to be the operational, though unstated, judicial policy, exercised out of the apparent administrative interest in reducing the number of lengthy jury trials. Footnotes, 20 references, an appendix showing the sentence severity scale used in the study, tables, and citations of case law are provided.
Index Term(s): Case studies; Dispositions; Felony; Judicial decisions; Judicial discretion; Right to trial by jury; Sentencing disparity; Trial courts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=70231

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