Judicial discretion and sentencing disparity in adult felony courts in Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on a series of legal, extralegal, and systemic variables presumed to affect the workings of criminal-justice systems. These variables are employed first to analyze the decision of the court to refer defendants for presentence investigation when such a referral is not mandatory, then to examine how these referrals, once made, influence disposition. The relationship of legal representation to disposition is also explored. The findings contradict conventional wisdom regarding the advantages to defendants of legal representation and of presentence reports. Lawyers do not appear to influence either referral or sentencing. The presentence reports are requested by judges seeking to individualize their sentencing decisions, but this process of individualization is as likely to result in harsher sentences as in greater leniency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-115
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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