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NCJ Number: 220306 Find in a Library
Title: Deciding Upon Mode of Trial
Journal: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:46  Issue:4  Dated:September 2007  Pages:372-384
Author(s): Steven Cammiss
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This British study focused on the influence of magistrates' decisions about jurisdiction as a factor in determining the percentage of cases referred to the Crown Court for trial that could have been tried in the magistrates' courts.
Abstract: Historically, policymakers and reform bodies have attempted to restrict the number of cases tried in Crown Court in order to reduce costs and delays. The decisions of defendants have been the focus of reform efforts. The current study found, however, that in the two magistrates' courts studied, a disproportionately large majority of cases got to the Crown Court because the magistrates declined jurisdiction, rather than because defendants elected to be tried in Crown Court. This suggests that policymakers who wish to reduce the number of cases tried in Crown Courts while increasing the number of cases tried in magistrates' courts, must address magistrate decisions regarding the acceptance of jurisdiction. Coupled with this focus must also be the recommendations and decisions of prosecutors, which show a high correlation with magistrate decisions regarding whether a local case should be retained in the magistrates' court or be transferred to the Crown Court. The research was based on the functioning of one Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that serves both an urban (city) court and a small-town court. Beginning in March 2001, the fieldwork was completed in 9 months. Twelve prosecutors were monitored in the city court and 9 in the county magistrates' court. Seventy mode-of-trial hearings were observed in the city court and 30 in the county court. 2 tables, 19 notes, and 26 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Foreign courts; Judicial discretion; Jurisdiction; Magistrates
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