Crime, Justice, and Discretion in England, 1740-1820

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - History - 383 pages
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This book presents a detailed analysis of the judicial process - of victim's reactions, pretrial practices, policing, magistrates hearings, trials, sentencing, pardoning and punishment - using property offenders as its main focus. The period 1740-1820, the final era before the coming of the new police and the repeal of the capital code, emerges as the great age of discretionary justice, and the book explores the impact of the vast discretionary powers held by many social groups. It reassesses both the relationship betweeen crime rates and economic deprivation, and the many ways that vulnerability to prosecution varied widely across the lifecycle, in the light of the highly selective nature of pretrial negotiations. More centrally, by asking at every stage who used the law, for what purposes, in whose interests and with what effects, it opens up a number of new perspectives on the role of the law in eighteenth century social relations.

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About the author (2000)

Peter King is a Professor of Social History at University College, Northampton.

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