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51 - Conclusions from the Field of Legal Decision-Making

from Part VII - Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2024

Monica K. Miller
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Reno
Logan A. Yelderman
Affiliation:
Prairie View A & M University, Texas
Matthew T. Huss
Affiliation:
Creighton University, Omaha
Jason A. Cantone
Affiliation:
George Mason University, Virginia
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Summary

As should be clear from the preceding 50 chapters in this book, the type and number of decisions made in the legal system are virtually endless. In the criminal context, the offenders decide to commit, the victims decide whether to report, and bystanders decide whether to report or cooperate. The police decide if and how they will interrogate. Suspects decide whether to cooperate with police and whether to accept a plea bargain. Attorneys decide whether to prosecute and encourage their clients to settle or negotiate a plea bargain. Psychologists decide if a defendant is competent, insane, and/or amenable to treatment. Jurors decide a verdict (and occasionally, as in death penalty trials, a sentence), and judges decide whether to admit evidence and what sentence a defendant should receive. In the civil context, people harmed decide whether to sue, and attorneys decide whether to take the case and what evidence to rely on. Judges make decisions throughout the civil litigation process, and both jurors and judges can make ultimate decisions (e.g., verdict, damages). Other decisions include legislators’ decisions on defining crime, social workers’ decisions on whether to take action against a parent who is under their supervision, parole board members’ decisions on whether a person in prison should be released, and so on.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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