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Focal Concerns: Convening Authorities Charging Decisions in Military Sexual Cases

thesis
posted on 2023-10-19, 13:33 authored by Matthew C Cox
Research strongly supports the conclusion that prosecutors incorporate factors such as race, class, and gender into prosecutorial decisions. Within the context of research on sexual assault case processing within the civilian criminal justice system, the focal concerns theory posits that legal and extralegal factors influence prosecutorial decision-making (Holleran et al., 2010; Spears & Spohn, 1996; Spohn & Holleran, 2001; Spohn & Tellis, 2012a). The extent to which civilian research related to prosecutorial decision-making has been applied to the military’s system is limited and well overdue (Breen & Johnson, 2018). The current study applied civilian research, and the limited military research that exists, to a military criminal justice setting, using the focal concerns theory, assessing to what extent legal and extralegal variables influenced military charging decisions. Theories based on civilian research were supported, in part. Strength of the evidence, offense seriousness, and victim preference significantly influenced the likelihood a case was charged. Blame and believability factors, race, and class were not significant. The generalizability of this research is limited given the small sample size and location. Additional research is necessary to further illuminate the reasoning employed for case charging in the military.

History

Advisor

Frohmann, Lisa

Chair

Frohmann, Lisa

Department

Criminology, Law, and Justice

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Erez, Edna Ibarra, Peter Muchow, Ashley Spohn, Cassia

Submitted date

August 2021

Thesis type

application/pdf

Language

  • en

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