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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92585 Find in a Library
Title: Dispositional Disparities in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction The Conviction and Sentencing of Shoplifters in South Australia and New South Wales, 1980
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:16  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1983)  Pages:133-145
Author(s): P Grabosky; C Rizzo
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: A log linear analysis was used to explain variations in the disposition of shop theft charges and in sentences imposed on adult defendants convicted in courts of summary jurisdiction in New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia.
Abstract: During 1980, 2,060 shop theft charges against adult defendants were disposed of by lower criminal courts in South Australia and 5,523 in NSW. Nearly 20 percent of the NSW cases and over 40 percent of the South Australian cases led to outcomes other than conviction. In South Australia, the influence of presiding magistrates on both outcome and sentence significantly outweighed the contribution of the other factors considered. The explanatory power of this variable remained strongest, even when controlling for other factors. Presiding magistrates were not identified in the NSW data. Controlling for other factors in both jurisdictions, defendants over age 65 were more likely to avoid conviction, but age advantage was limited to this first disposition stage. Defendants who were legally represented fared better at both disposition stages in both places. Convicted defendants who were not the recipients of bonds with supervision stood a greater chance of imprisonment. Unemployed, convicted defendants were more likely to receive prison sentences. Gender failed to emerge as an important factor, but in NSW convicted females were much less likely than males to receive a prison sentence. The most appropriate course of action appears to be the compilation of detailed statistical data and the development of greater opportunities for discussion and consultation among judicial officers.
Index Term(s): Age group comparisons; Convictions; Defense counsel; Dispositions; Employment; Incarceration; Magistrates; Male female offender comparisons; Sentencing/Sanctions; Shoplifting; Theft offenses; Unemployment
Note: This is a revised version of a paper prepared for presentation at the 52nd ANZAAS Congress, Macquarie University, NSW, 14 May 1982.
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