Aggravating and mitigating factors in sentencing: comparing the views of judges and jurors

Kate Warner, Julia Davis, Arie Freiberg, Caroline Spiranovic, Helen Cockburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article reports the findings of the first study in Australia to compare the responses of judges and jurors in 122 real cases who were asked to identify the appropriate relevance and weight that should be given to some of the most commonly listed aggravating and mitigating factors in sentencing. The research reveals that, while jurors and judges in Victoria are alike in giving more weight to aggravating factors than mitigating factors and in supporting an individualised approach to sentencing, jurors give less weight than judges to some mitigating factors, including good character, being a first offender, youth, old age and physical illness. Jurors also adopted broader interpretations of aggravating factors like breach of trust and the relevance of prior convictions. They also preferred a different rationale for discounting sentences due to family hardship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-391
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Law Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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