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The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision-making for Cases Processed by Offices in One Northern County and One Southern County, 2007-2010

Metadata Updated: November 28, 2023

Prosecuting attorneys enjoy broad discretion in making decisions that influence criminal case outcomes. This study examines the impact of legal, quasi-legal, and extra-legal factors on case outcomes throughout the prosecutorial process. It then examines how prosecutors weigh these factors in their decision making and explores the formal and informal mechanisms that constrain or regulate prosecutors' decision-making. The study examines case screening decisions, charging decisions, plea offers, sentence recommendations, and dismissals in two moderately large county prosecutors' offices. It includes statistical analyses of actual case outcomes, responses to a standardized set of hypothetical cases, and responses to a survey of prosecutors' opinions and priorities, as well as qualitative analyses of two waves of individual interviews and focus groups. It addresses the following questions: How did prosecutors define and apply the concepts of justice and fairness?What factors were associated with prosecutorial outcomes at each stage? How did prosecutors interpret and weigh different case-specific factors in making decisions at each stage?How did contextual factors constrain or regulate prosecutorial decision making?How consistent were prosecutors' decisions across similar cases? What case-level and contextual factors influenced the degree of consistency?

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Restricted: This dataset can only be accessed or used under certain conditions. License: us-pd

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Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOJ JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023
Publisher National Institute of Justice
Identifier 1148
Data First Published 2015-12-23T14:22:21
Language eng
Data Last Modified 2016-04-21T12:43:21
Rights These data are restricted due to the increased risk of violation of confidentiality of respondent and subject data.
Public Access Level restricted public
Bureau Code 011:21
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 35578e8d-cfe7-4f5f-813d-44d75a8bc621
Harvest Source Id 3290e90a-116f-42fc-86ac-e65521ef3b68
Harvest Source Title DOJ JSON
Program Code 011:060
Publisher Hierarchy Office of Justice Programs > National Institute of Justice
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash cdde24616c277f6faa8fd180975460382bef9d151aac4d7d5160d59c4c007475
Source Schema Version 1.1

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