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NCJ Number: 63986 Find in a Library
Title: BUREAUCRATIC FACTOR IN THE PROCESS OF CRIME CONTROL - THE PROSECUTOR
Journal: MONATSSCHRIFT FUER KRIMINOLOGIE UND STRAFRECHTSREFORM  Volume:62  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1979)  Pages:129-139
Author(s): K SESSAR
Corporate Author: Carl Heymanns Verlag
Germany (Unified)
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Carl Heymanns Verlag
5 Cologne 1, Germany United
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: THE INFLUENCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE FACTORS ON THE PROSECUTOR'S DECISION TO PROSECUTE AN OFFENDER IS EXAMINED IN THE CONTEXT OF WEST GERMANY.
Abstract: THE LABELING APPROACH TO CRIMINOLOGY EXPLORES HOW THE ORGANS OF SOCIAL CONTROL DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PARTICULAR OFFENDERS BECAUSE OF SOCIAL FACTORS. IT IS ARGUED, HOWEVER, THAT THE PROSECUTOR'S DECISION TO PROSECUTE A CASE ARE RARELY BASED ON AN OFFENDER'S CLASS, RACE, OR AGE BUT RATHER ON ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATIONS. THE PROSECUTOR IS OBLIGED BY LAW TO INVESTIGATE ALL CASES REPORTED TO HIM BY THE POLICE AND TO PROSECUTE IF A CONDEMNATION IS LIKELY TO ENSUE. FACED WITH AN EXCESSIVE CASELOAD, THE PROSECUTOR MAKES HIS DECISIONS SWIFTLY AND ROUTINELY FROM THE POLICE FILES WITHOUT EVER SEEING THE OFFENDER. IN ORDER TO SAVE TIME IN THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, FOR EXAMPLE, PROSECUTORS USUALLY ABANDON CASES IN WHICH THE EVIDENCE IS WEAK AND A CONDEMNATION UNLIKELY. INSTEAD, THEY TEND TO TAKE UP CASES IN WHICH THE OFFENDER HAS ALREADY PLEADED GUILTY. IN ADDITION, PROSECUTORS OFTEN CHOOSE A TRIAL SOLUTION SINCE MILDER ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS REQUIRE THEM TO MAKE GREATER ADMINISTRATIVE EXERTIONS. IN CONCLUSION, THE LABELING APPROACH BASED ON OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS DOES NOT DESCRIBE ADEQUATELY THE PROSECUTORS' SELECTION. A PROBLEM STILL EXISTS, HOWEVER, IN THAT SOME GROUPS OF THE POPULATION (LOWER CLASS, SOME MINORITIES) HAVE A FAR HIGHER RATE OF PROSECUTION THAN OTHERS. IT IS ARGUED THAT ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A DIFFERENT TYPE OF 'LABELING.' THUS, A BLACK MAN IS MORE LIKELY TO BE PROSECUTED NOT BECAUSE HE IS BLACK OR COMES FROM A DISADVANTAGED NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT RATHER BECAUSE HE OFFERS LEAST RESISTANCE TO THE PROSECUTOR. AN OFFENDER WHO THREATENS TO MAKE PROSECUTION DIFFICULT-E.G., BY HIRING A DEFENSE ATTORNEY DURING THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION--IS LESS LIKELY TO BE PROSECUTED THAN A MORE COOPERATIVE OFFENDER. THE ARTICLE CONTAINS A BIBLIOGRAPHY. --IN GERMAN. (SAJ)
Index Term(s): Germany; Labeling theory; Prosecution; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial diversion; Prosecutorial screening; Prosecutors
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63986

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