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'[F]or the sake, in effect, of 30 pieces of silver': Themes in judges' sentencing remarks of male and female domestic murderers

Whittle, Marion (2011) '[F]or the sake, in effect, of 30 pieces of silver': Themes in judges' sentencing remarks of male and female domestic murderers. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare judges' sentencing remarks when males kill females and females kill males in the context of domestic murder. This included a literature search to identify research from a historical, legal and criminological perspective, which was consistent or inconsistent with the results, emanating from the themes, identified in the analysis of those remarks. To undertake a qualitative analysis, the methodology of grounded theory was used, and the data emanating from the judges' sentencing remarks identified nine themes.

Broadly speaking the data reflects that women are viewed more harshly than men and receive higher sentences. In addition, judges are distancing male offenders from their responsibility for their violent conduct, rendering them potential candidates for more lenient treatment in terms of sentence. The analysis also reveals that judges frequently rely on stereotypes and traditional notions of marriage, family and femininity in determining an offender's sentence. These assumptions are embedded in the different set of descriptors used by judges to describe male and female offenders within the sentencing remarks.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Supervisor: Hall, Guy
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/12600
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