POLI4023_ResearchPaper_FinalDraft_Jsolite_fINAL

POLI4023_ResearchPaper_FinalDraft_Jsolite_fINAL - Income,...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Income, Media, and Other Effects in Crime Disposition Joshua Solite POLI 4023 Dr. Haynie May 5, 2011 Joshua Solite POLI 4023 Dr. Haynie 5 May 2011 Income, Media, and Other Effects in Crime Disposition Crime, defined as an act punishable by law, has and will always be a part of any society. Disposition, in criminal law, is defined as the final settlement of a matter and the decisions made by the court in a criminal case. The sentence administered to a particular individual depends on numerous legal factors such as severity of crime, past criminal history, circumstances surrounding the crime, and state and local-level guidelines. However, many scholars agree that there are various extra-legal factors that influence crime disposition and the use of prosecutorial
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Solite 2 discretion. Albonetti (1997), Croyle (1983), Mustard (2001), and a number of others question whether factors such as race, gender, income, and the educational level of the defendant influence the sentencing decisions of judges. Other scholars have explored whether or not the media, such as television and the internet, influences public perception of crime, which in turn affects prosecutorial discretion (Haynie & Dover 1994). Helms and Jacobs (2002) point out that political factors and local court environments affect the way in which judges, who are elected, decide to rule on a case. Because each of these factors is said to impact crime disposition in some way, a number of individuals, including Etienne (2005) and Stuntz (2008), feel that disparities exist in the disposition of crime. This paper will explore all of the factors which are believed to effect crime disposition as it relates to both prosecution and sentencing by discussing the findings of the scholars above as well as others. It will also look further at whether or not there are disparities that exist in crime disposition because of these factors. Prosecutors have an enormous amount of power when it comes to deciding what and whom to charge. As Haynie & Dover(1994) note, “the prosecuting attorney in the American judicial system generally has greater power than any other official in the disposition of criminal cases” (Haynie & Dover 1994). Bowers (2010) argues that the decision of the prosecutor not to charge is based on three different factors. First are legal reasons, meaning that the prosecutor lacks concrete evidence to prove legal guilt. Second are administrative reasons, meaning that the prosecutor has limited resources and wishes to preserve them. Last, the prosecutor must consider equitable reasons, meaning that the prosecutor thinks the defendant is not blameworthy of the crime (Bowers 1656-1657). Bowers studied ten thousand dispositions in New York City from 2005-2008 to examine the types of charges that city prosecutors decline most frequently. His findings suggest that prosecutors are more willing to charge public order, police-initiated cases
Background image of page 2
Solite 3 like assault, possession of stolen property, contempt, and trespassing rather than cases that
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 07/10/2011 for the course POLI 4023 taught by Professor Moyer during the Summer '09 term at LSU.

Page1 / 13

POLI4023_ResearchPaper_FinalDraft_Jsolite_fINAL - Income,...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online