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NCJ Number: 51106 Find in a Library
Title: PROSECUTORS AND THE DISPOSITION OF CRIMINAL CASES - AN ANALYSIS OF PLEA BARGAINING RATES
Journal: JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:69  Issue:3  Dated:(FALL 1978)  Pages:402-412
Author(s): J B JONES
Corporate Author: Northwestern University
School of Law
Managing Editor
United States of America

Williams and Wilkins Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60611
Williams and Wilkins Co
Baltimore, MD 21202
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE EFFECT OF PROSECUTOR'S VALUES AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND ON THEIR RATE OF PLEA BARGAINING WAS EXAMINED BASED ON DATA COLLECTED THROUGH A MAIL SURVEY OF PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS IN ILLINOIS.
Abstract: THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT (NOT PROVIDED) CONTAINED BOTH OPEN-ENDED AND CLOSED QUESTIONS FOCUSING PRIMARILY ON THE PROSECUTOR'S PLEA BARGAINING PRACTICES AND HIS OR HER VIEW ON THESE PROCEDURES. RESPONSES TO A QUESTION ON RATE OF PLEA BARGAINING PROVIDED THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE FOR THE STUDY. PROSECUTORS WERE REQUESTED TO INDICATE THE PERCENTAGE OF THEIR CASES WHICH WERE RESOLVED THROUGH THE USE OF A NEGOTIATED PLEA; THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE WAS BASED ON THEIR PERCEPTION OF THE PLEA BARGAINING RATE. THE THREE INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INCLUDED TWO BACKGROUND CONSIDERATIONS, EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE, AND THE PROSECUTOR'S SUPPORT FOR ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES EXISTING WITHIN THE CRIMINAL COURT ENVIRONMENT. THESE VARIABLES WERE APPLIED TO FOUR HYPOTHESES: (1) PROSECUTORS FROM LOWER CLASS ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS MINORITY GROUPS WILL ENGAGE IN PLEA BARGAINING AT A HIGHER RATE THAN THEIR COLLEAQUES FROM NONMINORITY AND MIDDLE AND UPPER CLASS BACKGROUND; (2) PROSECUTORS WHO RECEIVED THEIR EDUCATION FROM ONE OF THE PROPRIETARY LAW SCHOOLS WILL ENGAGE IN PLEA BARGAINING AT A HIGHER RATE THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS FROM NONPROPRIETARY SCHOOLS; (3) PROSECUTORS WITH MORE LEGAL BACKGROUND WILL ENGAGE IN PLEA BARGAINING AT A HIGHER RATE THAN THOSE WITH LESS EXPERIENCE; AND (4) PROSECUTORS WHO ADHERE MOST STRONGLY TO VALUES SUCH AS EFFICIENCY AND COOPERATION WILL ENGAGE IN PLEA BARGAINING AT A HIGHER RATE THAN THOSE WHO SUPPORT SUCH VALUES LESS STRONGLY. THE STATISTICAL ANALYSIS DEMONSTRATED THAT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROSECUTOR'S RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, OR FAMILY STATUS WAS NOT USEFUL IN PREDICTING THE PLEA BARGAINING RATE; THAT REALITY OFTEN OVERRIDES LAW SCHOOL VALUES AND PERCEPTIONS, CAUSING A PROSECUTOR'S LEGAL TRAINING TO HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON THE PLEA BARGAINING RATE; THAT DEPTH OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE HAS ALMOST NO INFLUENCE ON A PROSECUTOR'S WILLINGNESS TO NEGOTIATE; AND THAT SUPPORT OR NONSUPPORT FOR EFFICIENCY HAS ALMOST NO EFFECT ON PLEA BARGAINING RATE, ALTHOUGH SUPPORT FOR COOPERATION HAS A SOMEWHAT GREATER EFFECT ON THE FREQUENCY OF PROSECUTORIAL BARGAINING. GRAPHS AND TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED. REFERENCES ARE FOOTNOTED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Illinois; Plea negotiations; Prosecutorial discretion; Surveys
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51106

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