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NCJ Number: NCJ 241146     Find in a Library
Title: Prosecutorial Justification for Sexual Assault Case Rejection: Guarding the Gateway to Justice
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:48  Issue:2  Dated:2001  Pages:206 to 235
Author(s): Cassia Spohn ; Dawn Beichner ; Erika Davis-Frenzel
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 98-WT-VX-0003
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In examining prosecutorial justifications for not bringing charges in sexual assault cases, this study obtained data on all sexual battery cases (n = 140) with alleged victims over 12 years old cleared by arrest in 1997 by the Sexual Crimes Bureau of the Miami-Dade (Miami, FL) Police Department.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to replicate and extend Frohmann’s (1991) study of prosecutorial justifications for not bringing charges in sexual assault cases. Although the findings of the current study are consistent with Frohmann’s conclusion that prosecutorial charging decisions in sexual assault cases are based on the prosecutor’s assessment of the likelihood of conviction, the current study also determined that this prosecutorial assessment is based on factors other than prosecutorial beliefs about rape scenarios and the characterizations of rape victims. In a substantial number of the cases in the current study, the prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges could be traced to the alleged victim’s failure to appear for an interview prior to the charging decision, refusal to cooperate in the prosecution of the case, or admission that the charges were fabricated. The current study also found that a prosecutor’s decision as to whether or not to file charges was based on a combination of case and victim characteristics. Case that involved an alleged victim and suspect who were acquainted, related, or intimate partners were more likely to be rejected than those cases that involved an alleged victim and suspect who were strangers. The authors conclude that prosecutorial charging decisions in sexual assault cases are guided by a set of “focal concerns’ that revolve around the likelihood of securing a conviction. This set of “focal concerns” includes prosecutorial beliefs about what constitutes rape and a legitimate rape victim. 4 tables and 25 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Prosecutorial discretion ; Sexual assault ; Case processing ; NIJ grant-related documents
   
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:
https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=263234

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