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NCJ Number: 220612 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecutorial Discretion and the Imposition of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:44  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:427-458
Author(s): Jeffery T. Ulmer; Megan C. Kurlychek; John H. Kramer
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 32
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study presents a multi-level analysis of the prosecutorial decision to apply a mandatory minimum among mandatory eligible offenders sentenced for drug crimes, or as repeat, three strikes offenders.
Abstract: Given a pool of offenders who were convicted of crimes for which the prosecutor could choose to apply the mandatory minimum, the outcome of whether or not those offenders received a mandatory minimum was solely a product of prosecutorial discretion. The analysis found those prosecutors’ decisions to apply the mandatory minimum were significantly affected by the type and characteristics of offenses, guideline sentence recommendations, prior record, mode of conviction, and gender. Legally relevant factors, such as case processing concerns (rewarding guilty pleas) and social statuses (gender, ethnicity, and age) shaped prosecutors’ perceptions of blameworthiness, community protection, and their decisions to apply mandatories. Although mandatory minimums target offenses were disproportionately committed by minorities, the prosecutor’s discretion to apply mandatory minimums might be biased against minorities; Hispanic males were more likely to receive mandatory minimums and that Black-White gap in mandatory applications increased as the county percentage of Blacks increased, even though race did not have a significant main effect , and even though the odds of Blacks and Whites getting mandatory minimums decreased with percentages of Blacks. The data were collected from a subset of cases of the PCS for the years 1998 to 2000. Cases in the analysis were limited to the most serious offenses per judicial transaction and to those cases sentenced under the most recently revised Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines. The limitations of the data are discussed. Tables, figures, notes, references
Main Term(s): Sentencing disparity; Sentencing factors; Sentencing guideline compliance; Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Courts; Discretionary decisions; Mandatory Sentencing; Pennsylvania; Prosecutorial discretion
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