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Homicide Final Notes INCLUDING textbook .docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2760
Rob Shearer

Rob said: focus on patterns, trends and themes.  100 questions total, 50 Multiple Choice, 50 T/F Davies, Chapter. 4: Patterns and Trends—1 question How Common is Homicide?: The FBI reported that in 2004, 16,137 individuals in the United States were murdered. • However, it is important to look at the homicide rate as well. • The U.S. murder rate decreased from a rate of 5.7 homicide victims per 100,000 in 2004 to 5.5 per 100,000 in 2004. Determining the Homicide Rate: • How many people were killed out of every 100,000 individuals in the population. The homicide rate is determined following this formula: Homicide rate= H/(P/100,000)). H=the number of homicides in a particular area P=the population in the particular area Homicide Trends: • The number of homicides in the United States has decreased 65.5% between 1991 and 2004, whereas the homicide victimization rate decreased 55% during the same time period. Circumstance Type: (pp. 45) • Homicides involving arguments were most common, making up 43.9% of the homicides in which the circumstances were known. Nearly a quarter or 22.8% of the known circumstance occurred along with another felony such as robbery or burglary. Victim/Offender Relationship: • More than half of the victim/offender relationships (55.9%), were known to the police, and when they were known were the most common. • The percentage of homicides committed by family members has declined steeply since 1966. In addition, the percentage of all homicide that are acquaintance killings has also decreased since the 1960’s. Sex: • Homicide is predominately a male activity. More than three out of four victims or 78% of U.S. homicide offenders in 2004 were male. Similarly, when sex of the offender was known, 90% of homicide offenders were male. • Male offenders predominate as killers of both males and females. Age: • Homicide offending tends to be an activity that is committed often by the relatively young. • The peak age for homicide offending in 2004 was 20 to 24 years. Moreover, those aged 17-29 accounted for the majority (57.6%) of homicide offending in which the age of the offender was known. • Female victims and offenders tend to be adults between the ages of 20 and 54, there is no age spike for females as there is for males. Race: • The 2004 homicide data show that among known offenders and victims, whites out number African Americans, but only by a small margin. In 2004, 48.6% of homicide offenders were white, 47.5% wereAfricanAmerican. • Whites predominate as victims (52.9%).AfricanAmericans are close with (43.6%) • Although the data shows that whites outnumberAfricanAmericans, the rate of homicide is much higher forAfricanAmericans. o In 2004, the rate of homicide victimization was six times higher for AfricanAmericans compared to whites. Similarly, the rates of homicide offending forAfricanAmericans were seven times higher than the rates of offending in 2004 for whites. • Alook at who kills in terms of race shows that white offenders tend to kill white victims, andAfricanAmerican offenders tends to killAfricanAmerican victims. Weapon Use: • Guns predominate as murder weapons in the United States. Firearms were used as the murder weapon of choice in 66% of all homicides in 2004, with handguns the most popular gun choice for homicide offenders. Community Types: • Most homicides and the highest rate of homicide occurred in the most densely populated areas. Regional: • Homicide is more common cities as well as in the South. • The northeast is the least populous region of the United States, and it contributes least to the murder rate, and likewise the south is the most populous and contributes the most to the homicide total. However, the rates indicate that the South has more than its fair share of homicide. • The murder rate for the North and Midwest were both 5 per 100,000 and the rate in the West was 5.7 per 100,000 persons in 2004. However, the south had a rare 6.6 per 100,000 in 2004. • The three cities with the highest homicide rates are New Orleans, Baltimore and Detroit. Cross-national Comparisons. • The homicide rate in the United States remains consistently higher than the homicide rate in many other countries. • The United States has a rate of 5.56 per 100,000. Social and Cultural Explanations for Homicide: Davies Chapter 6: 20 Questions • Sociologists begin with the premise that our environment or social milieu influences our actions. Societies are structured differently and cultures vary.As a result, crime rates vary by place and over time. • There are also different patterns: 1. Men are more likely than women to be both offenders and victims of homicide throughout the world. 2. Within the United States, southern have higher rates of homicide than northeasterners. 3. African Americans and poor people are overrepresented as both homicide offenders and homicide victims. Classical School Perspective: • Cesare Beccaria: argued that people are rational and hedonistic and that they possess free will. Individuals make decisions about how they act weighting the costs and benefits of potential actions, including criminal actions. • According to Beccaria you are hedonistic. You are motivated by your desire for pleasure and your attempt to avoid pain. • Finally, you have free will—you can determine your own actions. • Criminologists today still find the premise of Beccari’s explanation for hum behaviour attractive, as seen in rational choice theory. Rational choice Theory: Assumes that people are rational and they consider the risks involved in their actions before acting. • RTC is strongly associated with deterrence theory, which posits that laws may have a deterrent effect on human behaviour. • In other words, if the criminal justice system is setup in such a way that a person who violates a law is likely to be caught and punished, people will be less likely to commit crimes. • After all, in their rational calculations they will decide that the punishment for certain behaviour is not worth doing the behaviour. Social Disorganization: • Look to the structural causes for explaining crime. • Studying the inner-city of Chicago Shaw and McKay (1942) found that regardless of who lived in what they called the “transitional zone” of the city; this zone had higher delinquency and crime rates. o They concluded that it was not the people so much as the structural conditions of the area in which they lived that led to criminal behaviour. o The transitional zone with the highest crime rates had worse housing conditions; higher rates of poverty; fewer intact families and less of a sense of community. o They theorized that the zone was disorganized, leading to unclear norms and a lack of structure that helped keep individuals in line. o Findings of recent homicide studies support the basic ideas of social disorganization. • Krivo and Peterson (2000) find that greater economic disadvantage and low home ownership rates are correlated with higher homicide rates in 124 U.S. cities. Thus structural factors are linked to the homicide rates. DifferentialAssociation: • Edwin Sutherland set out to explain why crime is more common is poor areas. • He argued: crime is like everything else that humans do, we learn to do it. • Basically, we learn how to commit crime and why we would want to commit crime from intimate others. Through family and peers we are exposed to ideas about laws. We learn that laws, or certain laws, should be followed and other laws are unimportant. • Differential association explains some homicide better than other types. Gang killings, for example, are likely learned. • Within the context of a gang, one learns the value of violence and homicide for protecting one’s territory or settling the score. Social Control Theories: • Social control theorists assume people will commit crimes if left to their own devices, so to speak. They argue that something must exist to prevent people from doing crime. • Accordingly, they argue that it is our connection to conventional others that prevents us from committing crime. • According to Durkheim’s theory of anomie, with industrialization and the increasingly complexity and size of society, more deviance would be likely because family and community ties would be weaker and thus individuals would have less to lose if they did not conform. • According to Durkheim’s idea about anomie, we would expect more homicide in urban areas where people are believed to be less connected to other people. In smaller towns and rural areas, we expect that individuals would be more likely to know one another meaning that there would be less law violation. Hirschi:According to social bond theory, the more we are connected to conventional others in society, the less likely we will commit delinquent act. • Hirschi explained that four major bonds connect individuals to society. 1. Attachment (how close you are to conventional individuals) 2. Involvement—how much time you spend doing legitimate activities 3. Commitment How dedicated you are to accomplishing your goals by following legitimate routes. 4. Belief—you think laws and norms of society make sense and should be upheld. • If any of these bonds are weakened, delinquency or crime is likely. • To explain homicide, we would expect that individuals who are not bonded to others would be most likely to commit homicide. AGeneral Theory of Crime: • Hirschi and Gottfredson joined forces to propose the idea that it is a combination of low self-control and opportunity that leads to criminal behaviour. • Low self-control is the result of poor or absent parenting. With poor parenting, children do not learn to set goals and work for what they want, and they never learn to control their temper.As a result, they are impulsive and act without much thought as to how it will affect others. • This could be used to explain spur-of-the-monent murders. Neutralization Theory (Skyes and Matza, 1957):Aka drift theory, was used to explain juvenile delinquency. • Found that delinquent youth understood and knew the rules, however, they instead drifted into and out of delinquent behaviour. • They explained that the youth and others who partake in illegal or deviant behaviour learned how to explain their situations in such a way that the delinquent or illegal act was justified. These explanations are called techniques of neutralizations. • The transgressor employs these techniques of neutralization before the person violates the rules. 1. Denial of responsibility 2. Denial of Injury 3. Denial of Victim 4. Condemnation of the Condemners 5.Appeal to Higher loyalties (pg. 89). • To commit a delinquent act, Sykes and Matza explained that an individual would only have to employ ONE of the techniques of neutralization. • In relation to Homicide, using the denial of responsibility technique, a young woman may decide to kill her stepfather because he has abused her and her younger sister. She might think it is not her fault but his. He has essentially asked for his own death. Aserial killer may believe he is making society better. He would be using the denial of injury. Those who commit hate crime murders may employ the denial of victim technique. They may kill others who they believe deserve to be killed, and thus they do not see the victim a a victim. (Agang member who kills to protect the gang’s turf may be using the appeal to higher loyalty technique as well). Murder as Righteous Slaughter: Jack Katz argues that often when the killers and the victims know one other, killers justify the crime in their own mind. They believe they are preserving what is good. • This may explain Joseau Torres, who allegedly walked in on Richard Tunley who was beginning to molest his Torrest 2-year-old daughter sexually. Torres then killed Tunley. • Katz makes the point that in the spur of the moment the killer believes he or she is justified in kill another. • Using a phenomenological approach, Katz explains that the killer interprets the situation at hand as one in which the potential victim is doing something the killer cannot ignore. According to Katz, the killer turns person humiliation into rage, killers see themselves pushed by forces greater than themselves. Correlates of Homicide: Official statistics indicate that rates of homicide victimization and offending are highest amongAfricanAmericans, southerners, men, lower-class individual, and people who live in the United States. Race and Homicide: The Culture of Violence: • Wolfgang proposed a theory to explain the high number of homicides involving AfricanAmerican men. Wolfgang and Ferracuti postulated that a subculture of violence exists amongAfricanAmericans. Those who grew up in this subculture learned that violence is an appropriate response in many situation. In fact, violence is required whenever one is challenged. • Aperson who backed down from a challenge or ignored it, would be violating the norms of the subculture of violence. Thus, Wolfgang and Ferracuti explained that high rates of homicide among youngAfricanAmerican men were to be expected, because violence was a norm, homicide was likely. Region and Homicide: Southern Subculture of Violence: • Some scholars have argued that a southern subculture of honour among southern white men operates much like the subculture of violenceAmongAfricanAmericans. • The southern culture of honour was developed to explain higher rates of homicide in the Southern United States. • According to the southern subculture of violence theory, white men have learned that backing down is weak and unmanly. As a result, any affront to a southern man must be answered with violence. If insulted, men in the South are expected to retaliate with violence. Lifestyle and RoutineActivities Theory: • The fact that odds of being a murder victim are higher for some people and lower for others may be explained by lifestyle and routine activities theory. • Lifestyle theory focuses on how the lifestyle of an individual may place them at risk for becoming a victim. During the 1980’s for example, many homicide victims were believed to be young men involved in gangs and drug sales. Their involvement increased their risk of homicide. • Routine activities theory suggests that the routine behaviour of individuals may increase or decrease their risk for murder. o It suggests that three elements are required for crime: 1. Motivated Offender 2. Availability of suitable target 3.Absence of capable guardians. • Using routine activates theory, we can explain murder at both the macro and micro level. o Young women as opposed to older women may be more likely to be raped and murdered because younger women spend more time with younger men, we would thus expect them to be victimized at higher rates because those motivated to do such crimes are younger men. o We may also explain higher numbers of homicide in certain neighbourhood because the neighbourhoods are lacking effective guardians. Men and Violence: Feminist Perspectives on Masculinity: • Men use violence as a way to control others and to boost their masculine identity. • Men’s use of violence is likely related to the positions they hold in society. In other words, men who have alternative means to control others may not perceive the need to use violence. Either way, masculinity and control seem to be linked Social Stratification and Homicide: Data suggests that poor peope in the United States and throughout the world are more likely to be found among homicide offenders and victims than are indvidiauls in higher economic categories. • Social disorganization tradition suggests that violent crime rates tend to be higher in communities where people are economically disadvantaged. Negative role models may help foster criminal ways among youngsters. • William Julius Wilson made the argument that high levels of concentrated disadvantage and poverty generate high levels of crime including homicide. Why do we kill so often in the United States?: economic stratification • Studies indicate that countries with high-income inequality have higher rates of homicide. In the Unites States we see great disparities between those at the top of those at the bottom of the economic ladder. • Second, people in the United States own guns, and assault with guns may more likely end in death • Third, like the subcultural arguments postulated to explain high rates of homicide in the South and high rates of homicide among youngAfrican men, some argue that we have a history and culture of violence in the United States. The Role of Alcohol and Drug Use: Evidence suggests a strong relationship between homicide and alcohol or illegal drug use. The evidence shows that over half the homicides involve offenders or victims under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the homicide incident. However, note that alcohol is more frequently involved than illegal drugs. Davies, Chapter. 7: Confrontational Homicide—3 questions o Confrontational homicide—defined: those that begin with a public altercation viewed as a contest of honor by at least one of the participants. The altercation then quickly evolves into violence and ends in death.Also referred to as honor contest violence, tend to occur in public places. o Confrontational homicides tend to occur in places such as bars, parties, parking lots and nearby streets and alleys o The participants are often, but not always intoxicated, or under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances. Gender and Confrontational Homicide: o Women generally make up less than 15% of homicide offenders in any country where such statistics are kept. Data on Confrontational Homicide: o Based on Wolfgang’s study of homicide in Philadelphia, it may be surmised that around a third of homicides are confrontational homicides because Wolfgang found 35% of the homicides he studied grew out of trivial altercations. o Polk found slightly fewer causes, with 22% of all homicides in VictoriaAustralia. History of Confrontational homicide: o Cooney discusses homicides that are the result of feuding, brawling, dueling, and lynching. o In the 15 century and lasting as late as the 19 century, dueling also lead to many homicides. Victim-Precipitated Homicide o Marvin Wolfgang found it was not uncommon for the victim of the homicide to have been involved in the events of his death. o Wolfgang introduced the term victim-precipitated homicide to describe homicide situations in which the victim was first to employ “physical force against the subsequent slayer.” o He found that the victims in victim precipitated homicides were more likely to be male andAfricanAmerican than in non-victim precipitated homicides. o In the victim-precipitated homicides, 94% of the victims were male as compared to 70% in non-victim-precipitated homicides (14%). Homicides asASituated Transaction: o Lukenbill emphasized that homicide is often the result of seemingly inconsequential incidents that turn into “character contests.” o Explained that most homicides are the result of a contest in which adversaries interact in a way that at least on of them believed would keep them from looking weak. He called these interactions, “situated transactions.” o Most homicides occurred when the offender and victim were partaking in leisure activities such as dancing, partying, and importantly drinking alcoholic beverages. o Most homicides occurred on the weekends between 6 P.M. and 2A.M o Over 60% of the cases he studied involved victims and offenders who were either related or were friends. o Luckenbill found that these homicides followed a similar pattern in which the eventual offender and victim each played a roll. Six stage process 1. Opening move—victim does something viewed as an affront by the offender (most common is a comment viewed offensive. (41% of cases fit this scenario). (pp. 106) 2.The interpretation of the events in the opening move as an affron—offender perceives something as offensive 3. Having determined that the victim has affronted him, the offender could excuse or ignore the insult. However, the offenders make retaliatory move to save face and not sully their own reputation. 4. Reputation is on the line—victim stands up and fights back. 5. Forging of a working agreement, at which time both offender and victim seem committed to battle. During this stage a weapon of some sort is brought in. 6. Final move by offender—Following the homicide the offender makes three moves, most often fleeing the scene. 1/3 of the cases he remained at the scene and in 1/5 of the cases the offender was held involuntarily by observers until police arrive. Importance of Audience: • Felson found that most interpersonal aggression was a response to a perceived rule violation and is thus justified by the aggressor. Further, males were more likely than females to express their anger when insulted. • Felson also found that if third parties prompted the conflicts the interactions tended to be more severe. Confrontational Homicide and Culture of Honour Subculture of Violence: Wolfgang found that much of the violence among the youth he studied was a reaction to some trivial matter and that a young man who did not respond to an affront with violence and aggression would be seen as weak.Argues that there is a subculture of violence among lower-class males. • According to Wolfgang, violence is seen as normal and expected in certain situations amongAfricanAmericans and sometimes leads to death. • Shihadeh and Steffenmeier found that inequality in those cities was much greater amongAfricanAmericans. Thus,AAhad more economic hardships leading to them to argue that higher rates of violence amongAfricanAmericans in urban settings are not necessarily the result of culture but because of structure. Southern Subculture of Honour: • Southern subculture of honour is similar to the subculture of violence I that both the theories propose high levels of violence among particular groups of people can be explained by a subculture that requires men to react violently to insults that could potentially damage their reputation. • However, the southern subculture of violence explains violence by southern white men rather than violence by urbanAfricanAmerican youth. Population and homicide table distribution by region, 2004: pg. 111. • This culture of honor requires men stand up to any affront to their honour. This culture has been passed down through generations of southerners. (pg. 112). Confrontational Homicide: Is it a Mans World? • Fred Adler and Rita Simon postulated links between the women’s movement and women’s offending behaviour. In essence, Simon posulated that the womens movement encouraged and allowed women to be more like men (masculinity hypothesis). • Rita Simon proposed a connection between increases in women’s offending behaviour and the women’s movement as well. However, she proposed that where women’s offending increased, it was not because they were becoming more masculine but simply that women’s movement had helped women gain more opportunity. o She believed that the women’s movement would in fact lead to fewer violent offences such as homicide among women. o An examination of the data suggests that women’s homicide offending has changed little. o Nearly 2 out of 3 (38.7%) homicides committed by women involved domestic violence, suggesting that confrontational homicide is not likely to be the most common type of homicide committed by women. Davies, Chapter. 15—Homicide in Court: 10 questions • First of all, approximately half of the defendants charged with murder accept plea bargains to avoid the harshest penalties. Second, almost half of murder defendants in large urban counties have public defenders (Reaves, 2006). Third, although some trials just take one day, they tend to be longer in real life and more mundane than they are on television. Pretrial Stages: • Once the suspect is arrested the case is in the hands of the prosecuting attorney (aka the district attorney or DA). The district attorney decides whether to charge the accused as well s what to change them with. • It’s common for the prosecuting attorney to charge murder defendants with several crimes. For example, in 2003, 61% of defendants charged with murder were also charged with another feolony. Initial Appearance: • Within 48 hours of an arrest in the United States, the accused must be brought before the judge to be advised of the charges. • Probable cause hearing may also happen is they have been arrested without a warrant. Pretrial Release: Pretrial release on bail is less likely in homicide cases than in other types of crime. Nearly ¾ of those eventually convicted of murder were denied bail or had bail amounts of at least $100,000. Grand Jury: Are part of the pretrial stage in federal criminal courts and in nearly half of state courts. • Meet in secret and prosecutor presents evidence to support going forward with case against accused. • In the majority of the grand jury believes there is enough evidence to proceed with the case, the defendant is indicted and the case is said to be a ‘true bill.’ Arraignment: If it is determined that probable causes exists to justify continuing the trial according to the grand jury or the preliminary hearing, the next step is the arraignment where the defendant enters his or her plea. • With a guilty plea, the defender admits to the acts they are accused of and the judge schedules a sentencing hearing. • Nolo contender, or no contest, is a please that the accused admits criminal liability, but does not actually admit guilt • Aplea of not guilty is the defendants way of saying that they want the prosecution to make a case against them.Anot guilty plea means there will be a trial. Plea Bargaining: Adeal made between the prosecuting attorney and the defendant. • Prosecutors who are certain the offender is guilty may prefer to plea-bargain if the case against the offender is weak or to avoid the expense and time of a trial and to guarantee a guilty plea.Accused persons may agree to this in order to avoid the risk of a harsh sentence • Plea bargaining is common for those accused of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and other violent crimes in the United States. However, trials are more likely in murder and non-negligent manslaughter causes than in other felony cases. • The number of trials for robbery, burglary, and larceny were comparable to the number of homicide trials, meaning that they are a regular occurrence in the nations courts. Pretrial Motions: Attorneys may file pretrial motions in which they make a request for a judge. Defense attorneys often make a motion for discovery, which asks that the prosecution reveal to the defense the evidence against them. Jury Selection: If a murder defendant pleads not guilty, a jury in then selected. • For a jury to be considered impartial, the jurors must be unbiased and selection from a venire, a group of potential jurors, that is representative of the community from which it is selected. • Some refer to it as a ‘deselection process’because the goal is to excuse individuals with extreme views in order to assemble an impartial jury. • Juries in murder trials usually consist of 12 jurors and at least 2 alternates. • The process of jury selection is called voir dire, a French phrase that is translated to ‘to speak to truth.’ • During the voir dire, the judge and often defense and prosecution attorneys, ask potential jurors questions that are meant to discover whether there are reasons for excluding particular individuals from the jury. • Challenges for cause are used when it is believed the potential juror cannot be impartial or fair usually because of a conflict of interest. Scientific Jury Selection: • Academic research suggests tat personality and demographic features that social scientists have studied account for no more than 15% of the variance in verdicts. • Proponents of scientific jury selection argue that academic research is often flawed. Opening Statements: • Essentially an outline of what each side intends to present during a trial. Presentation of Evidence: • The prosecution has the onus of proving the perpetrator committed the crime for which they have been charged with. The defense does not have the same burden. However they, usually in cross-examination of the prosecutors witnesses and through evidence of their own attempt to show that the defendant is not guilty. • Direct evidence is evidence that proves a fact. The testimony from a witness who testifies witnesses a murder would be direct evidence. • Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence. The jury or judge must deduce what happened from the evidence, there is nothing that directly links the offender to the crime. Defenses to Murder: • The three general defense to the charge of murder are alibi, justifications and excuses. Alibi: Is a denial instead of a defense, either way, when murder defendants use an alibi, they are arguing that they could not have killed the victim because they were somewhere else when the victim was killed. Justifications: Murder defendants who employ a justification defense admit that they killed the victim, but they argue that it was necessary to prevent great harm to themselves or another. 1. Consent: Adefendant may use the defense of consent when any harm done occurred after the victim have their permission for a harmful act. I.e. Dr. Kevorkian who helped patients end their lives when they were suffering from illness. 2. Necessity: May be used if the defendant commit a crime to prevent a greater harm. Acceptable arguments of the necessity to commit murder are unlikely. Most situations you might imagine as possibly being appropriate for a defense of necessity are probably covered by the defenses of self-defense and defense of others. 3. Self Defense: The law of self-defense states that an individual may use reasonable force against another when the individual reasonably believes the other person is threatening them with imminent and unlawful harm. 4. Defense of Others: May be able to claim defense of others as a defense of murder. The force used against the other must be reasonable and the person one is defending must be in imminent danger. However, a person will not be released if they are defending a person who started the altercation. 5. Defense of Home and Property: In most places, you do not have the right to kill to protect your property unless you are in imminent danger. • Related to stand your ground laws, which in Florida allows individuals to use deadly force against intruders who enter their homes.Accordingly, police are not permitted to arrest or detain an individual; nor may a person be prosecuted for killing an offender who forcefully entered their home. E Excuses: Excuses in murder cases are used by defendants who admit they committed a crime, but argue that they were not legally responsible at the time of the crime. Examples include: age, involuntary intoxication, provocation, and insanity. Age—Common law does not consider children younger than 7 to be capable of mens rea. Defendants older than 7 but younger than 14 may also attempt to employ age as a defense in murder cases. Involuntary intoxication: If a person is drugged against their own will or tricketed into taking a substance that negates the individuals mens rea, the person may be found not guilty. Provocation: To prove this, the defense would have to prove the defendant lost emotional control because of some provocation on the part of the victim. Insanity: Those who claim insanity are arguing that because they were mentally ill at the time of the crime, they could not have had a guilty mind. They were ‘out of their mind’ and thus not capable of having a guilty mind. • The substantial capacity test is a more relaxed standard for determining if a defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity. Closing Arguments: The attorneys summarize their cases without presenting any new evidence. Sentencing: In death penalty cases, the defendant guilty is charged with the task of recommending a sentence of a judge. In non capital cases however, the sentencing decision is directly a responsibility od the judge in most U.S. jurisdictions. • A1999 study fount tat 95% of defendants convicted of murder or nonnegligent manslaughter in state or federal court were sentenced to incarceration. Only 5% were sentenced to probation. Death Penalty Cases: Research indicates that there are racial and gender disparity in death penalty sentencing. • The odds of a death sentence were over 1.75 times greater (Ohio) in cases I which a white person was killed as compared to cases with nonwhite victims. • Similarly, those in death penalty—eligible cases who killed women were 2.6 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed men. • Finally, offenders who killed white women were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed white men orAfricanAmericans based on either sex. • Research indicates that there greatest racial disparity in the criminal justice treatment occurs during the indictment or charging stage. Prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty when the victim is a white women and least likely when the victim is anAfricanAmerican man. Davies, Chapt. 16—The Impact of Homicide: 5 questions • References to murder and killing are commonplace in todays society as is the slaughter of human beings for entertainment. If you are fortunate enough to not have been personally affected by murder, you may never have thought about what life might have been for those friends and loved ones who have lost friends to murder or those whose family members or friends have committed murder. Homicide Survivors: • Whether they are called homicide survivors and co-victims, family members and friends of murder victims suffer immensely when their loved ones are taken away by murder. However, these individuals are not are not counted by FBI or other organizations that keep track of the number of victimizations. • Anational prevalence survey in the United States in 1991 found that 9.3% of those sampled were homicide survivors. • If we project this finding to the adult population of the United States that means there are approximately 28 million homicide survivors in the United States. • The sparse research on homicide survivors suggests there are unique problems faced by those whose loved ones are murdered • Homicide survivors experience deeper and longer lasting trauma. • Homicide survivors must contend with the fact that their love ones died because someone willfully took their lives. • Survivors sometimes feel that the press invades their privacy or portrays their loved ones in an unfavorable light. • They must also content with the anger they have for the murdered of their loved one as well as the social stigma and isolation involved in having a loved one murdered. • Survivors experiences with the criminal justice system are often problematic; it is common for them to feel ignored or pushed out of the justice process all together. • Also, fewer homicides are cleared today than in the past. As a result, many survivors must face the reality that their loved one was murdered by someone who remains unpunished. • Although each survivors does not have the same experience many feel: numb, fearful, guilty, rage, and anxiety. Feelings of helplessness and apprehension are common as is survivor guilt. • It is not uncommon for survivors to experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, research indicates that PTSD is more prevalent in murder survivors than in people who lose loved ones to other cases including accidents and suicide. • Interpersonal relationships are also affected by the murder of a loved onethe stress of losing a child often results in divorce for couples whose child is murdered. Families may also be torn apart when the murder offender and victim are related to one another. • Research on homicide survivors indicates that many suffer from a, “complicates bereavement,” in which they cannot reconcile their loss. • Research indicates that prayer, church attendance, psychotherapy, and antidepressants FAIL to reduce the pail and trauma or decrease the PTSD experienced by most homicide survivors. For some survivors, support group help makes a difference. • Survivors must also contend with extrapersonal loss: paying medical bills in an effort to save their loved one; some lose their homes or have major social status change related to the loss of the victims income. If there is a trial, survivors may find it difficult to maintain their jobs or earn money to pay their bills while attending all of the criminal justice proceedings. • The media also presents a problem for survivors: reports can be insensitive when asking questions; pictures of the victims may be broadcast on the news or paper without consent; family members may have to deal with media camping outside their houses and publishing unflattering details about their loved ones. Survivors and the Criminal Justice System • Crimes in the United States and many other countries are viewed as crimes against the state instead of crimes against individual victims. • The system is structured so the victims role is peripheral, victims have not traditionally been informed about the investigation of the murder and they are often considered suspects by police. • Interactions with the criminal justice system increase homicide survivors feelings of powerlessness. • Many survivors also express frustration at the seemingly better treatment that the criminal justice system provides to offenders in comparison to the families of the victim. • Common practices such as plea-bargaining, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences for good behaviour or because of overcrowding can also add to the helplessness and lack of control that survivors feel. • One study indicates that family members who experienced a trial had higher depression than family members whose cases were still unsolved. Victims Rights Movement: During the 1970’s feminists made progress in establishing nattered women’s shelters and encouraged legislatures to institute rape shield laws. • The National Organization for VictimAssistance was founded in 1975. • In 1978--Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) was founded after the Hulligers 19 year old daughter was murdered by her former boyfriend. • POMC and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) began demanding that the criminal justice system pay attention to victims and see beyond the state and the defendant in criminal proceedings. • In 1984 the Victims of CrimeAct (VOCA) was passed, which provides funds for victim assistance programs and state victim compensation. VictimAssistance Programs: • In 1972, Carol Vitteret witnessed an assault and robbery. She took the victim home and then established the first U.S. victim assistance program. • Aids for Victims of Crime, still provides services to victims in the St. Louis area today. • Her work was expanded in 19784 when the first government/witness programs were established with funds from the Law EnforcementAssistanceAdministration. (pg. 300 Rights of Federal Victims). Victim Compensation: One response to the victims movement in the U.S. was the establishment of victim compensation funds to provide financial reimbursement to victims for the losses they incurred during a crime. • Victim compensation funds were originally established to provide monetary assistance for those in need. However, today one need not needy to receive victim compensation funds. Victims are considered deserving simply because they have been victimized. • Nearly 200,000 victims are helped by victim compensation programs each year in the United States at a cost of approximately $450 million. (Most are funded through offender fines and alone with federal funding). • Most often only victims of violent crimes who suffer physical injury or emotional trauma qualify for compensation Victim Impact Statements: Victim impact statements were introduced into criminal trials as a way for victims to indicate the impact the crime has had on them. • Those who felt they had a say in the process fared better than those who were not informed and were not included in the process. Restorative Justice: • The idea of retributive justice is to repair the wrong done to the victim and the community by bringing the offender, victim and community members together. • Restorative justice encourages communication between offenders and those they have hurt through victim/offender mediation. The goal is to allow the offender tow ok toward repairing the harm he or she has caused and to reintegrate them into society. (pp. 303) The Cost of Homicide, Literally: • TheAustralian Institute of Criminology (AIC) assessed the cost of homicide in Australia in 2001 to be $930 million. They included medical costs and lost output as well as intangible costs calculated as the monetary value of pain, suffering, and the loss of quality life. • Lost output refers to the cost of paid and unpaid labour that victims can no longer do. • TheAIC determined: o Medical costs for homicide in 2001 was $4.5 million o Lost output equaled $700 million o And the intangible costs were determined to be almost $225 million. o In total then the total for allAustralian homicides in 2001 according to the AIC equaled a little over $731 million U.S. based on 589 homicides. • In 2001, the United States had 13,752 homicides.Assuming that the cost per homicide were the same the U.S. costs would be $22 billion. • Amazingly, these high costs do not include the criminal justice costs, such as the cost of investigating homicides, prosecuting offenders, and housing the convicted. • Finally, theAIC figure that puts the cost of homicide in the United States in the $22 billion range also does not factor in the costs of supporting victim’s dependents and the emotional and mental health costs of survivors. The Murderers Family: • Offenders families deal with man of the same issues and emotions as victim’s families. Both experience emotional stress, stigmatization, insensitive media, loss of income, and to a lesser extent, the loss of a loved one. • Family and friends of offenders often also feel stigmatized. Often they are ostracized and isolated, or some people seek them out because they are related to a murdered. • Parents of murderers may be held responsible or blamed for the offenders behaviour. • The offenders family may feel a loss of control and privacy as their lives become fodder for the public. • Finding out that family member has murdered another human being can be emotionally devastating. may experience denial, guilt, anger or betrayal. • Families of murdered may find it more difficult to find support. Criminal Justice Personnel and Reporters: Sometimes we forget the stresses that personnel involved with the reality of murder everyday. • Law enforcement is a particularly stressful job, and research indicates that the stress is more pronounced for homicide investigators. o They often feel it is their personal responsibility to solve the murders and avenge the murder. Fatigue, long hours, and the inability to share the horrors they witness often result in relationship and emotional problems. o May also experience stress related to the murders. Court workers who must witness details of murder during trials may find themselves either growing callous to descriptions of violence or, alternately, they may experience nightmares and find they are less trustful of others after learning the horrible details of some murders. • Similarly, defense and prosecuting attorneys may struggle with the reality of murder at the level they must deal with. Prosecuting attorneys are likely to share with homicide investigators the need to seek vengeance for the murder cases they try. Serving asAJuror in a Murder Trial (pp. 309) Fascination with Homicide(pp. 309). Murderabilia: Serial killer memorabilia are items sold by collectors, dealers, or the killers themselves. It is an example of the glamorization of crime in our culture and the failure to recognize the suffering by victims and their families. Son of Sam Laws: In 1977, this law was enacted by the New York State Legislature to keep convicted murders such as David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam) from making any money from the sale of stories about the crimes they committed (311). Davies, Chapt. 17—Stopping Murder: 7 questions • Incapacitation and capital punishment can also be perceived as homicide prevention initiatives in that they are expected to deter future violence and homicide. • Davies discusses the evidence that is available that sheds some light on the deterrent effects of these sanctions. • In addition, the role of gun control and related legislation is also discussed in this chapter and how it is different in Canada compared to the United States. Deterrence: Based on the premise that punishment will dissuade would-be offenders from committing crimes. • Apenalty is said to be a general deterrent to murder if it successfully prevents the masses from killing • Aspecific deterrent is aimed at a particular offender. Incapacitation: Selective incapacitation is intended for those who are believed to be very likely to offend because they have offended in the past. • Another reason for incapacitation of convicted murdered is to prevent them from killing again. • Criminologists have attempted to determine whether incarceration reduces homicide. • Marvell and Moody (1997) found that a 10% increase in the prison population was associated with nearly 13% fewer homicides from 1930 to 1994. Targeting Youth Gangs Reduction Through Lever-Pulling Strategies: • Officials in Boston began working together in an attempt to reduce the number of murders in their cities. • They found that a small portion of the population was responsible for much of the homicide in their city. o 1% of the city’s youth population was responsible for at least 60% of the homicides. This 1% tended to be gang members. • Implemented project ‘Ceasefire,’a so-called lever-pulling strategy that aims to stop violent crime by being extremely tough on crime. • The plan is to pull every lever or in other words, use every strategy to prosecute and punish and one who uses a gun in the commission of crime. • This project ‘ceasefire’brought gang members, paroles, and probationers together in town meetings where the new approach to gun crimes was emphasized. • Criminal justice agencies prosecuted offenders to the fullest. • Violent gang offending and youth violence dropped after the implementation of the program • Applies it in Minneapolis and Indianapolis (IVRP), resulting in a decrease in homicides. Striking Out: • One popular policy known as ‘three strikes and you’re out’was instituted to incapacitate and deter offenders from making a career out of crime. This mandated sentence enhancements for individuals who were convicted of a serious crime for the second or third time. • Studies that have examined the impact of three-srike laws, have fialed to demonstrate their success. • Specifically, with regard to homicide, three studies found that three strike laws did not work • Ovandzic theorized that the positive association could be explained in a number of ways. 1. First, research on criminals suggests they do not believe they will be caught and thus deterrence does not work. 2. Perpetrators may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and thus not think about th consequences of their actions when they kill. 3. The strikes law may have made it more likely for offenders to kill witnesses so the perpetrators would not be identified and arrested. Capital Punishment as a Deterrent: • Most research supports the contention that capital punishment fails to deter murder. • Research shows that death penalty states do not have lower homicide rates than non-death penalty states. • Ultimately, it have been found that capital punishment and its attendant publicity fails to deter murder. However, this shouldn’t be that surprising, often murder is a crime of passion—the offender does not stop to consider the punishment. Gun Control in the United States: • Opponents of gun control argue that guns do not cause violence and moreover, gun ownership by law-abiding citizens may even deter violence. • Unfortunately, there is no consensus within the field of criminology. Gun Control and Gun buybacks in Australia: • The NFAmay have reduced gun suicides, but it had no effect on gun homicides and accidental shooting deaths. Concealed Weapon Laws: • The argument that concealed handgun laws may reduce violent crimes including murder. Those motivated to commit crimes may be less likely to take a chance in attacking another person because that person may be armed. • An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws in 24 states found that the laws do not reduce homicide or other violent crimes. It’s the Economy Stupid: • U.S. homicide rates fell dramatically in the 1990’s. • Explanations for this decrease may help us point to structural (sociological factors) that will help us prevent homicide. • At the same time homicide and other crime was decreasing, the U.S. economy grew as measured by the GDP per capita, and the unemployment rate decreased from an annual average. • If unemployment is related to homicide, policies for decreasing homicide should consider increasing the employability of potential offenders. Death Reviews: • Attempt to figure out what may have led to a death and what may have prevented it. The thought is that these reviews may result in the discovery of patterns contributing to murders that may be staved off with the introduction of new policies and practices. Improving Medical Responses and TechnologicalAdvances: Homicide may be reduced by improving emergency medical responses. • The ever-increasing availability of cell phones and improved cell phone service, as well as improvements in medical care, could explain decreasing murder rates throughout the United States. • With these ideas in mind, another approach to preventing homicide may be to increase emergency response times, improve trauma centers, and perhaps increase the number of medical facilities capable of handling trauma cases. • This will not reduce violence, but may prevent homicides by prevents aggravated assaults from truning into murders. • Following the idea of routine activities theory; it is possible hat surveillance camera’s could prevent murder: motivated offenders; suitable targets, absence of effective guardians. If camera’s are present would be offenders may refrain from attacking. Early Intervention: • Violence prevention programs focus on teaching children how to solve conflicts without resorting to violence.Amajor difficulty however is determining whether such programs have an effect of reducing homicide in the long term. • Peacebuilders—found that the children wer less aggressive and more prosocial than children not involved in the program. Greatest effect was on first and second graders. Domestic Violence Intervention: • The majority of intimate partner murders are the culmination of violent relationships, thus one way to reduce murder is to reduce domestic violence. • Acommunity must not tolerate any domestic violence if it is to be prevented. Reducing Confrontational Homicide: • Studies indicate that in over half of all homicides involving adult males in England and Wales, either the victim or offender had consumed alcohol. • Many of these could be classified as confrontational homicides. • One approach, often called environmental design, involves the physical design of pubs and clubs to make them seem more spacious. • Another approach involved training staff so they are more likely to reduce the potential violence than escalate it.
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