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Chapter 12-13

CRM/LAW C7 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12-13: Typification

Criminology, Law and Society
Course Code
Ana Muniz

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C7 - Lecture 8 - Ch. 12 & 13 Reading Notes
Ch. 12 Prosecutorial Justifications for Sexual Assault Case Rejection: Guarding the
“Gateway of Justice”
By: Cassia Spohn, Dawn Beichner, and Erika Davis-Frenzel
Prosecutors avoid uncertainty by filing charges in cases where the odds of conviction
are good and rejecting charges in cases where conviction is unlikely
Seriousness of offense
The strength of evidence in the case
Culpability of the defendant
Prosecutors attempt to predict how the background, behavior, and motivation of the
suspect and victim will be interpreted and evaluated by other decision makers
A “stand-up” victim → a person whom a judge or jury would consider credible and
undeserving of victimization
Credibility is determined by stereotypes of appropriate behavior and
The relationship between victim and suspect
Prosecutors are less likely to file charges if the victim knew the offender
Judges’ “focal concerns”:
Their assessment of the blameworthiness or culpability of the offender
Their desire to protect the community by incapacitating dangerous offenders or
deterring potential offenders
Their concerns about the practical consequences of sentencing decisions
Prosecutors’ charging decisions:
Focus on the likelihood of conviction rather than the social costs of punishment
Sexual Assault Case Processing Decisions
The case outcomes are affected by stereotypes about rape and rape victims
They are also affected by victim’s age, occupation, education, by “risk taking behavior”
and the reputation and the moral character of both suspect and victim
Case Rejection Based on Discrepant Accounts
When a case is rejected because of inconsistencies in the victim’s account or between
her account and the suspects or witnesses
Case Rejection Based on Typification of Rape-Relevant Behavior
When a case is rejected based on incongruities between the victim’s version of events
and the prosecutor’s knowledge of typical behavior in rape cases
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