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  • The Depravity Standard instrument was developed to operationalize depraved elements of crimes. It consists of 25 items that were derived using multiple sources of data, including case reviews, input from professionals, and over 40,000 survey respondents. This paper presents preliminary data on the use of the Depravity Standard in cases with multiple perpetrators, examining its efficacy in differentiating the culpability of co-conspirators in a terrorist act. The U.S. has been the site of three high-profile terrorist events with dual perpetrators: the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by ex-U.S. Military acquaintances Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols; the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; and the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting by husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
  • Purpose: Criminal law distinguishes aggravating factors such as “heinous,” “atrocious,” “cruel” (HAC) or “depraved” as features of a crime that warrant more severe sentencing. This review examines whether these aggravators are fairly applied, and how they can be refined to best serve justice.
  • Purpose: Aggravating factors in United States criminal codes, such as “heinous,” “atrocious,” “cruel,” “vile,” or “depraved,” distinguish elements of a crime that warrant more severe sentencing. These terms remain vaguely defined and arbitrarily applied. The Depravity Standard research was designed to develop a measure of societal standards for what elements make a crime depraved.
  • Purpose: The Depravity Standard is an evidence-based guide developed to operationalize an approach to distinguish the worst of crimes in a consistent manner that minimizes bias. This phase of the research was designed to validate the Depravity Standard items and develop a scoring mechanism.