Judging who kills: Judicial decision-making in homicide crime

Mónica Botelho, Rui Abrunhosa Gonçalves


What is appreciated by judges in a homicide process in Portugal still has a long investigative course to pursue in the field of psychology. This exploratory research aims to analyze differences in the extent of the penalty applied according to the elements identified in the judgments. It also seeks to know if there are any differences between decisions in the first and second instances. The following results are noted: judges tend to apply higher penalties when the victims gender is female; they sentencing offenders to higher penalties when they use the right to remain silence, consubstantiating these two factors, extralegal factors. It was also found that the measure of the penalty is less when the offender shown regret. It was verified that no variable related to the characteristics of the offender was statistically significant. The results are discussed, and the participation of extralegal factors in the judicial decision-making are highlighted.


Judicial decision-making, Homicide, Judges, Extralegal.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1336


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