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Working paper

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN PUNISHMENT IMPOSITION: FOUR FACTORS OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION IN RUSSIA

Pogosova Z. M., Penikas H. I., Nizhnik M.
The “ignorance of law” defense is often used as an argument to decrease the degree of punishment assigned to a convicted criminal. Previous research has identified that the degree of punishment is, inter alia, impacted by the perceived morality of the action and the  convicted criminal’s knowledge of the law. Compared to previous findings, the current paper contributes to the field of study in three principal ways. First, it analyzes Russian respondents and their perceptions of morality of action (previous studies have dealt with American respondents). Second, the present paper traces the distinction between lawyers’ perceptions and those of laypeople. Third, the quantitative impact of the ignorance of law defense on a trial group is traced by considering the interrelationship of factors determining the ultimate degree of punishment a hypothetical criminal would be sentenced to.