Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
A total of 191 participants completed the 2 (Race of victim: African American, Caucasian) x 2 (Content of Victim Impact Statement (VIS): Sentence Recommendation Only, Both Sentence Recommendation and Harm Statement) x 2 (Jury Guidelines for VIS: No guidance, Explicit instructions to weigh the harm statement with other aggravating and mitigating factors) between subjects factorial design study. The study assessed the relationship between the victim's race (African-American or Caucasian), the content of victim impact statements, and the judge's guidelines/instructions for interpreting/using the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) in the sentencing phase of a defendant's trial for burglary and aggravated battery. The results revealed race of the victim and judge's instructions had no impact on sentencing, or on the goals of sentencing as hypothesized. However, type of VIS was found to have significant effects on sentencing, goals of sentencing, as well as on the participants' perceptions of the victim. Finally, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Talbot, Mary Elizabeth, "Public Responsiveness to Victim's Recommendations in Their Sentencing Decisions: Role of Victim's Race, Victim Impact Statement and Judge's Instructions" (2010). Master's Theses. 535.
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Copyright © 2010 Mary Elizabeth Talbot