SAGE Journal Articles

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SAGE Journal User Guide

Article 1: Gauthier, S. (2010). The perceptions of judicial and psychosocial interveners of the consequences of dropped charges in domestic violence cases. Violence Against Women, 16(12), 1375-1395.

Summary: This article describes a qualitative study undertaken to explore why criminal charges in domestic violence cases are dismissed. Using data obtained from interviews, a wide range of consequences of charge dismissal was explored. The author finds that the respondents did not view any dismissal of criminal charges in cases of domestic violence as a failure.

Questions to Consider:

1. What additional negative consequences could arise if a criminal charge of domestic violence was dismissed?

2. How might the responses differ if the respondents were victims and/or offenders instead of professionals in the field?

3. How might the responses differ in an American context? Might the responses be related to the jurisdiction in which the professionals work and reside? Why or why not?


Article 2: Ford., D.A (2003). Coercing victim participation in domestic violence prosecutions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(6), 669-684.

Summary: This article examines the impact of contemporary coercive prosecution policies toward victims of domestic violence. While the purpose of such policies is to protect victims, the practice has remained untested. The author examines the policies with two perspectives: one of the prosecutorial role of victims and one of the protective impact of mandatory prosecution.

Questions to Consider:

1. Are no-drop polices in the victims’ best interests? Why or why not?

2. In what ways can prosecution in cases of domestic violence be protective for victims?

3. How is victim coercion found in the prosecution of domestic violence cases? 


Article 3: Worrall, J.L., Ross, J.W., & McCord, E.S. (2006). Modeling prosecutors’ charging decisions in domestic violence casesCrime & Delinquency52(3), 472-503.

Summary: The article seeks to explain the prosecutors’ charging decisions in cases of domestic violence. Using information pertaining to the victim, offender, and characteristics of the case, the authors test to see what effects prosecutors’ charging decisions. The authors find that arrest of an offender, serious victim injury, victim preference, and offender gender were influential in the charging decision.

Questions to Consider:

1. How might a charging decision be affected by whether or not an arrest was made?

2. Explain the quandary of victim preference for/against prosecution and the responsibility of a prosecutor in charging decisions.

3. What other factors, unexamined, might impact how/when a prosecutor decides to charge an offender?


Article 4: Henning, K. & Feder, L. (2005). Criminal prosecution of domestic violence offenses: An investigation of factors predictive of court outcomes. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32(6), 612-642.

Summary: This article extends the examination of decision making in response to domestic violence offenses by identifying the legal and extralegal factors that influence prosecutorial and judicial decision making. The authors find that prior criminal history of the defendant, type of charge, severity of offense, defendant gender, and income predicted pretrial release decisions. Fewer factors predicted the decision of the district attorney to accept or reject cases and even fewer (mainly legal) factors influenced the sentenced imposed by a judge.

Questions to Consider:

1. Why might extralegal factors such as gender, race, and socioeconomic status be more influential in prosecutorial decisions than judicial decisions?

2. Should extralegal factors be influential in prosecutorial decisions? Why or why not?

3. How might these results differ when examining another jurisdiction or data that is nationally representative? Would you expect similar results if the demographics were different, i.e. a lower proportion of minority defendants?