Public Views on Sentencing Juvenile Murderers: The Impact of Offender, Offense, and Perceived Maturity

Brandon K. Applegate, University of Central Florida
Robin King Davis, University of Central Florida

Concerns about violent juvenile offenders have been implicated in increasing efforts to treat some youthful offenders as adults. Previous research, however, has explored in only limited ways how the public wants the justice system to respond to juveniles who commit muder, and no study has yet considered the central issue of a youth's maturity. Using a randomly selected sample of Florida citizens, the present study seeks to begin filling this gap in the literature. Factorial vignette survey data is used to assess the impact of characteristics of the offender, aspects of the offense, and perceptions of a youth's maturity on public preferences for the punishment of juvenile murderers.

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Updated 05/20/2006