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Empirical Research on Chinese Sentence Decision-Making

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 24 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2011 Pages: 307-318
Li An; Hu Ming; Pan Li-ping
Date Published
September 2011
12 pages
This study examined the sentencing process in China.
Sentencing is a process where judges evaluate multiple circumstances prior to making a decision. The quantity and effect of particular circumstances exert a direct impact on judges' sentencing decisions. The written judgment is an important document where judges' sentencing decisions are recorded, so a proper positivist analysis of the written judgments can reveal the actual decisionmaking process concerning sentencing. The present study, relying on a database of criminal written judgments provided by a trial court in the People's Republic of China ('China') over a period of 1 year, is intended to investigate how judges evaluate the actual harm of the criminal act and the dangerousness of the offender, and to tentatively test whether the judges' sentencing method is in accordance with the psychological theory of decisionmaking. (Published Abstract)