Political Behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 135–153 | Cite as

Measuring and explaining disparities in felony sentences: Courtroom work group factors and race, sex, and socioeconomic influences on sentence severity

  • James L. Croyle
Article

Abstract

The author develops a scaling technique for felony sentence severity that includes probation and estimates of expected actual incarceration time in a single metric scale. The author uses the severity measure and nonreactive case data in a set of statistical analyses with which he attempts to test recent theoretical developments in the trial court literature that posit individual actor effects related to extralegal variables in sentencing decisions and the importance of interaction among work group members in those decisions. The findings indicate that differential effects exist across judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys in a court and offer support for the influence of the courtroom work group.

Keywords

Individual Actor Group Factor Theoretical Development Case Data Defense Attorney 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Administrative Office of U.S. Courts (1968).Federal Offenders in the U.S. District Courts 1967. Washington: Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.Google Scholar
  2. Buchner, D. (1979). “Scale of Sentence Severity.”Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 70:182–187.Google Scholar
  3. Clarke, S. H., and G. G. Koch (1976). “The Influence of Income and Other Factors on Whether Criminal Defendants go to Prison.”Law and Society Review 11:57–92.Google Scholar
  4. Eisenstein, J., and H. Jacob (1978).Felony Justice: An Organization Analysis of Criminal Courts. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  5. Gibson, J. (1978). “Race as a Determinant of Criminal Sentences: A Methodological Critique and Case Study.”Law and Society Review 12:455–478.Google Scholar
  6. Hagan, J. (1974). “Extra-legal Attitudes and Criminal Sentencing: An Assessment of a Sociological Viewpoint.”Law and Society Review 8:357–383.Google Scholar
  7. Kress, J. M., L. T. Wilkins, and D. M. Gottfredson (1976). “Is the End of Judicial Sentencing in Sight?”Judicature 60:216–222.Google Scholar
  8. Lehtinen, M., and Smith, G. (1974). “The Relative Effectiveness of Public Defenders and Private Attorneys.”National Legal Aid and Defenders' Association Briefcase 32:13.Google Scholar
  9. Lipson, A. J., and M. A. Peterson (1980).California Justice Under Determinate Sentencing: A Review and Agenda for Research. Santa Monica: The Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  10. Mather, L. M. (1979).Plea Bargaining or Trial: The Process of Criminal Case Disposition. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  11. Stipak, B., and J. C. McDavid (1981). “Factors Affecting the Severity of Judicial Sentences: A New Research Approach.” Mimeo, Institute of Public Administration, Pennsylvania State University.Google Scholar
  12. Tiffany, L., Avichai, Y., and Peters, G. (1975). “A Statistical Analysis of Sentencing in Federal Courts: Defendants Convicted After Trial, 1967–1968.”Journal of Legal Studies 4:369–390.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James L. Croyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceWashington UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations