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NCJ Number: 50019 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: VICTIMLESS CRIMES - A DESCRIPTION OF OFFENDERS AND THEIR PROSECUTION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Author(s): W F MCDONALD
Corporate Author: INSLAW
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 106
Sponsoring Agency: INSLAW
Washington, DC 20005
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 74-NI-99-0008; 75-NI-99-0111; 76-NI-99-0118; 75-NI-99-0060
Publication Number: NO 9
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PROSECUTION OF THE FOLLOWING VICTIMLESS CRIMES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS DESCRIBED AND ANALYZED: PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, NARCOTIC AND OTHER DRUG ABUSE, GAMBLING, AND CERTAIN SEXUAL BEHAVIOR BETWEEN CONSENTING ADULTS.
Abstract: THE CRIMES, WHICH CONSTITUTED 21 PERCENT OF ALL ARRESTS BROUGHT TO THE SUPERIOR COURT IN THE FIRST HALF OF 1976, WERE ANALYZED TO DETERMINE WHO IS PROSECUTED FOR VICTIMLESS CRIMES, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR CASES AND WHY, AND HOW THESE DISPOSITIONS DIFFER FROM THOSE FOR OTHER CRIMES. THE ANALYSIS SHOWED THAT THERE IS AS MUCH DIFFERENCE AMONG VICTIMLESS CRIMES AS BETWEEN THEM AND NONVICTIMLESS CRIMES IN SEVERAL RESPECTS, SUCH AS THE DEMOGRAPHIC AND PRIOR ARREST PROFILES OF ARRESTEES, REASONS WHY PROSECUTORS DROPPED CASES, TYPE OF BAIL IMPOSED, NUMBER OF CODEFENDANTS, NUMBER OF MECHANICAL OR DELAY CONTINUANCES, AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CERTAIN FACTORS IN DETERMINING FINAL DISPOSITIONS. ALTHOUGH VICTIMLESS CRIMES WERE SIMILAR IN TERMS OF SENTENCING, JAIL TERMS WERE RARELY IMPOSED. ONE FACTOR CONSISTENTLY AFFECTED PROSECUTORIAL DECISIONMAKING: IF A DEFENDANT HAD A PRIOR RECORD, HIS CASE WAS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS LIKELY TO BE DROPPED. OTHER FACTORS--THE DEFENDANT'S AGE, SEX, RACE, EMPLOYMENT STATUS, LENGTH OF TIME IN LOCAL RESIDENCE, NUMBER OF CONTINUANCES, TYPE OF DEFENSE ATTORNEY, PROSECUTOR'S EXPERIENCE, AND TYPE OF BAIL--HAD NO SIGNIFICANT AND SYSTEMATIC IMPACT ON PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION. ALTHOUGH MIDDLE-CLASS MALES ARRESTED FOR PATRONIZING PROSTITUTES HAD THEIR CASES DROPPED MORE OFTEN THAN THE PROSTITUTES THEMSELVES, THIS APPEARED TO BE DUE TO THEIR WILLINGNESS TO COMPLETE THE FIRST OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM. PROSECUTORS ALSO DROPPED CHARGES OF SOLICITING FOR LEWD OR IMMORAL PURPOSES AGAINST WHITE MALES MORE OFTEN THAN IN CASES INVOLVING BLACK MALES, PERHAPS DUE TO THE FACT THAT BLACK MALES WERE MORE LIKELY TO BE INVOLVED IN HOMOSEXUAL, RATHER THAN HETEROSEXUAL, SOLICITATIONS. WHILE A COMPARISON OF 1976 ARRESTS FOR GAMBLING WITH THOSE FOR 1973 REVEALED SOME STRIKING DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES, SUCH CHARACTERISTICS AS SEX, RACE, AGE, EMPLOYMENT, AND PRIOR ARRESTS FOR THREE OR MORE CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON WERE VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL FOR BOTH YEARS. HOWEVER, THE 1976 ARRESTEE WAS LESS LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF THE CITY AND HAD A LESS SERIOUS PRIOR ARREST PROFILE. WITH REGARD TO SOLICITATIONS, THE 1973 ARRESTEE WAS A YOUNG, UNEMPLOYED, LOCAL BLACK WITH A SUBSTANTIAL CRIMINAL RECORD, WHILE THE 1976 ARRESTEE WAS AN OLDER, WHITE, EMPLOYED, NONRESIDENT WITHOUT A CRIMINAL RECORD. REFERENCES ARE FOOTNOTED. TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED ALONG WITH REVIEWS OF THE VICTIMLESS CRIMES AND THE RESULTS OF REGRESSION ANALYSIS.
Index Term(s): District of Columbia; Drug law offenses; Drunkenness; Illegal gaming/gambling; Prosecutorial discretion; Sentencing/Sanctions; Sex offenses; Statistical analysis; Studies; Victimless crimes
Note: PROMIS RESEARCH PROJECT
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50019

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