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NCJ Number: 66772 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: VICTIM PARTICIPATION IN PLEA-BARGAINING - A FIELD EXPERIMENT (FROM PLEA-BARGAINING, 1980, BY WILLIAM F MCDONALD AND JAMES A CRAMER - SEE NCJ-66765)
Author(s): A M HEINZ; W A KERSETTER
Corporate Author: Lexington Books
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
US Dept of Justice

US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 76-NI-99-00SS
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CONSEQUENCES OF VICTIM PRESENCE AT PLEA NEGOTIATIONS WERE EXAMINED THROUGH OBSERVATION OF SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES THAT TOOK PLACE DURING 1977 IN DADE COUNTY, FLA.
Abstract: THE DADE COUNTY PROCEDURE SPECIFIED THAT VICTIMS' VIEWS WERE TO HAVE THE MOST WEIGHT ON THE ISSUE OF THE APPROPRIATE COMPENSATION OR RESTITUTION FOR LOSSES OR INJURIES SUSTAINED AS A RESULT OF A DEFENDANT'S ACTION. THEY WERE TO HAVE ONLY LIMITED IMPORTANCE IN THE JUDGE'S CONSIDERATION OF THE LARGER SOCIAL ENDS TO BE SERVED BY SENTENCE. THE ORIGINAL PROPOSAL FOR SYSTEMATIC INVOLVEMENT OF VICTIMS IN THE PROCESS WAS MET BY PREDICTIONS THAT VICTIMS WOULD DISRUPT THE PROCESS, WOULD MISUNDERSTAND THE DISCUSSIONS AND ACCUSE THE JUDGE AND ATTORNEYS OF AN UNSAVORY DEAL, AND WOULD BE VENGEFUL AND MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO REACH A JUST SETTLEMENT. BECAUSE OF THE RELATIVELY LOW ATTENDANCE BY VICTIMS, THE SESSIONS' IMPACT IS DIFFICULT TO ASSESS. HOWEVER, NONE OF THE PREDICTIONS WERE BORNE OUT BY THE DADE COUNTY EXPERIMENT; SETTLEMENT RATE REMAINED THE SAME, AND THE EFFECT ON SENTENCING, IF ANY, WAS TOWARD A REDUCTION IN SENTENCE SEVERITY AND USE OF INCARCERATION. THE REDUCTION OF TIME FROM ARRAIGNMENT TO DISPOSITION SUGGESTED THAT THE PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE MAY REPRESENT A SUBSTANTIAL BENEFIT IN TERMS OF COST. NEVERTHELESS PROFESSIONAL ATTITUDES TOWARD THE CONFERENCE WERE MIXED. THE CONFERENCE'S POSITIVE IMPACT ON LAY AND POLICE PARTICIPATION WAS LIMITED. COSTS INVOLVED IN NOTIFICATION OF PARTICIPANTS WERE ONE IDENTIFIABLE BURDEN. YET, TRADITIONAL PLEABARGAINING HAS BEEN SECRETIVE, EXCLUSIVE AND FORMAL. THE PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE WHILE BEING MORE OPEN, INCLUSIVE, AND FORMAL, HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN TO IMPEDE CASE SETTLEMENTS. THE CONFERENCE, WITHOUT INCREASED COSTS, PROVIDES VICTIMS, DEFENDANTS, AND POLICE WITH IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE CRIMINAL CASE DISPOSITION PROCESS, AND THEREFORE, IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Florida; Judicial discretion; Plea negotiations; Pretrial procedures; Prosecutor-victim interaction; Testimony; Victim compensation; Victim-offender relationships
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66772

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