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Prosecutorial Discretion & Punishment Motives in Ambiguous Juvenile Sex Offense Cases

Description

This study hypothesizes that a sampling of prosecutors would be more likely to prosecute juveniles who identify as homosexual versus those who identify as heterosexual. To test this hypothesis, surveys

This study hypothesizes that a sampling of prosecutors would be more likely to prosecute juveniles who identify as homosexual versus those who identify as heterosexual. To test this hypothesis, surveys were mailed to 1,000 prosecutors around the United States with a between subject design, meaning that each participant was only exposed to one condition in the vignette they read. There were a total of four vignettes, creating four conditions of different sexual orientations and gender in sexually appropriate relationships. The vignettes contain conditions in which either a male or female junior in high school was videotaped having oral sex with either a male or a female freshman in high school. Prosecutors were asked questions about whether they would prosecute the older student for statutory rape. Results indicated that our manipulations of sexual orientation and gender were not statistically significant on prosecutorial discretion or punishment severity/motives, however, these manipulations did alter the prosecutor's perceptions of the offender.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Prosecutorial Discretion and Punishment Motives in Ambiguous Juvenile Sex Offense Cases

Description

This study hypothesizes that prosecutors would be more likely to prosecute juveniles who engage in sexual activity with an underage same-sex partner than those who engage in underage sexual activity

This study hypothesizes that prosecutors would be more likely to prosecute juveniles who engage in sexual activity with an underage same-sex partner than those who engage in underage sexual activity with a member of the opposite sex. To test this hypothesis, surveys were mailed to 1,000 prosecutors around the United States with a between subject design, meaning that each participant was only exposed to one condition in the vignette they read. There were a total of four vignettes, creating four conditions of different “offender” sex and “victim” sex in sexually appropriate relationships. The vignettes contain conditions in which either a male or female junior in high school was videotaped having oral sex with either a male or a female freshman in high school. Prosecutors were asked questions about whether they would prosecute the older student for statutory rape. Results indicated that manipulations of “offender” sex and “victim” sex were not statistically significant on prosecutorial discretion or punishment severity/motives; however, these manipulations did alter the prosecutors’ perceptions of the offender.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017