A statistical study of sentence disparity of felons convicted in district courts in the state of Texas for possession of a narcotic drug




Allbright, Arland Rodney,1944-

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Purpose: It was the purpose of this study to determine if disparity of sentencing exists among offenders convicted for Possession of a Narcotic Drug in the District Courts of the State of Texas. This study was designed to determine: (1) If judicial attitudes significantly affect sentence disparity. (2) If legally relevant factors such as bills of indictment and prior criminal record affect sentence disparity. (3) If legally irrelevant factors such as age, sex, race, etc., affect sentence disparity. (4) If factors in criminal prosecution such as employed or court appointed attorneys or type of plea affect sentence disparity. Methods: A data collection sheet was designed using 52 independent variables. A sample population of 230 felons was obtained from the Records Office of The Texas Department of Corrections. The Admission Summary on these 230 cases obtained the pertinent data for the study. After the data collection was complete statistical analysis of the data was obtained from the IBM S/360 Computer. Findings: The following conclusions were determined: (1) Sentence disparity is existent in Texas District Courts, but judicial attitudes do not have a significant effect. (2) Offender’s type of plea is statistically significant as is residence of the offender in affecting sentence disparity. (3) Legally relevant factors such as prior criminal record and number of bills of indictment were not found to be statistically significant in its effect on sentence disparity.