Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward Pawlak

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul C. Friday


This dissertation examines the effect of legal and extra-legal variables on the processing and sentencing outcomes of defendants. The data for this study were extracted from the case files of Kalamazoo (Michigan) County Circuit Court. The sample population is comprised of criminal defendants randomly selected and who were processed in the circuit court from May, 1987 through May, 1988. The statistical procedure applied was cross - tabulation, utilizing a chi-square measure of association. Legal and extra-legal variables independently and collectively have different effects on the processing and sentencing outcomes of defendants. Results indicate that legal variables (e.g., type of crime and prior record) impact more significantly than extra-legal variables (e.g., race and age) on the processing and sentencing of defendants in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. Recommendations for future studies are proposed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Sociology Commons