Disparities in Decision Making


You are a newly minted prosecutor in Anytown, USA, and have been assigned the following two cases for trial:

Case A: 14-year-old male C.J. raped his 16-year-old next-door neighbor M.K. During the rape, C.J. bruised one of M.K.’s arms. The police arrest C.J. the next morning at his residence where he lives with his mother and two younger brothers. His mother is devastated by his arrest. C.J. has a history of minor thefts.

Case B: 16-year-old female K.O. raped 13-year-old R.L. and demanded that R.L. keep quiet about the rape. The police arrest K.O. R.L. does not want K.O. prosecuted for the rape.

On the date of sentencing, the court sentences C.J. to 10 years’ confinement with two years of probation, but sentences K.O. to two years’ confinement with five years of probation.

Should the female juvenile rapist have been treated differently than the male juvenile rapist?
If you were the judge, how would you justify your sentencing decisions?In response to your peers, assume the role of either the prosecutor or defense attorney and refute one of your peers’ arguments regarding sentencing.

In response to your peers, assume the role of either the prosecutor or defense attorney and refute one of your peers’ arguments regarding sentencing.

Peer post 1

Professor and class,

As a prosecutor or judge, fairness and the awareness that males and females can follow through with the same crimes is most important in investigating this case. The criminal record and aggressive specifics play a large part in a punishment phase of a trial as there is predictability in repetitive deviant behaviors. The confirmation that both cases fall within the category of non-consensual, forced rape I am left with the difference that in case A we have a 14-yr. old male that has demonstrated deviant behaviors in the past and may be an example of escalating crime as a youth that will build into more advanced criminal behaviors. A concern is the bruises left on the victim and the I question since the mother is the only one parent mentioned if he is living in a single-family home with limited control from his mother. The sentence was dynamics will be worth reviewing realizing that there are 2 younger brothers that she is dealing with also, as not to put them at risk for similar behaviors. In reviewing the case A factors that drove the court sentence was (in order of impact):

Repetitive minor theft prior showing progression
Bruises noted on victim showing aggression
Follow through of charges from victim
Case B The information given stated that the rape occurred but that the victim did not want to prosecute. There was no mention of any police history of K.O. prior to the rape and this may have played a large part in the reduced sentence. It would be important in the investigation to gain information regarding specifics of the rape, but I will assume there was not any noted bruises associated as with case A but the attempted silencing of the victim is of concern to evaluate if threats were made of harm to the victim. If the victim supported, the charges I as a prosecutor or judge would have a more impactful focus.

Peer post 2

Class and Prof. Brown,

In order to be a fair, ethical and unbiased judge, punishment should be handed down equally; regardless of gender, race or religion. It doesn’t matter what crime is committed, gender should never play a factor in the punishments administered. Rape is rape regardless of the gender. The mental impact on a male and female victim of rape is equal.

I would be able to justify the sentences in multiple ways as the judge in this case. The first justification of the differences would be the juvenile’s records. C.J. has a history of breaking the law through theft. It is apparent that he has a pattern of disregard for the law and increased the severity of his crimes through violent rape. K.O. had no record, making this her first illegal act. C.J. forcibly raped M.K. as was shown with the evidence of the bruising on M.K.’s arm plus her testimony. This adds to his charges. With K.O., her act of rape did not involve violence and R.L. is not willing to press charges. K.O. did intimidate the victim which adds to her punishment.

In the end, the differences in rulings boil down to C.J. violently raping his victim and his criminal record vs K.O. with no record and no apparent violence used to rape the victim.


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