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POLI4023_ResearchPaper_Draft_Updated_Jsolite - Joshua...

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Joshua Solite March 1, 2011 POLI 4023 Dr. Haynie 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 sentence given to the defendant in a criminal case. The sentence administered to a particular individual depends on the severity of the crime committed. However, a number of scholars and researchers agree that there are a number of factors that influence crime disposition and prosecutorial discretion. Some question whether factors such as race, income, and the educational level of a defendant influence the sentencing decisions of judges. This question is explored by a number of articles, including Celesta Albonetti’s, “Sentencing under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Effects of Defendant Characteristics, Guilty Pleas, and Departures on Sentence Outcomes for Drug Offenses;” James Creyole’s “Measuring and Explaining Disparities in Felony Sentences: Courtroom Work Group Factors and Race, Sex, and Socioeconomic Influences on Sentence Severity;” and a other works by a variety of others. In the article, “The Political Context of Sentencing: An Analysis of Community and Individual Determinants,” both Ronald Helms and David Jacobs also points out that political factors and local court environments affect the way in
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which judges, who are elected, decide to rule on a case. Another issue is whether or not the media, such as television and the internet, influences public perception of crime, which in turn affects prosecutorial discretion. The article, “Prosecutorial Discretion and the Decision to Try the Case,” by Stacia Haynie and Ernest Dover further explores this issue. Moreover, because all of these factors are said to impact crime disposition in some way, a number of individuals feel that there are disparities that exist in the disposition of crime. In addition to the articles above;
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