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NCJ Number: 66839 Find in a Library
Title: DECISION TO CONVICT (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH, 1980, BY SUSETTE M TALARICO - SEE NCJ-66830)
Author(s): J EISENSTEIN; H JACOB
Corporate Author: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DATA ON TRIAL COURTROOM DISPOSITION OF FELONY DEFENDANTS FOR THE CITIES OF CHICAGO, DETROIT, AND BALTIMORE ARE USED TO EXAMINE CASE AND DEFENDANT CHARACTERISTICS AS PREDICTORS OF DISPOSITION TIME AND MODE AND CONVICTION.
Abstract: CONVICTED DEFENDANTS TOTALED 68 PERCENT OF TOTAL DEFENDANTS IN BALTIMORE, 75.5 PERCENT IN CHICAGO, AND 72.2 PERCENT IN DETROIT. BALTIMORE TRIAL COURTS PROCESSED LARGELY UNSCREENED CASES SENT THEM BY THE DISTRICT COURTS AND THE GRAND JURY. BY CONTRAST, 40 PERCENT OF FELONY ARRESTS HAD BEEN SCREENED OUT BY DETROIT COURTS AND 85 PERCENT BY THE CHICAGO PRELIMINARY HEARING COURTROOMS. CONSEQUENTLY, BALTIMORE CONVICTED A HIGHER PROPORTION OF FELONY ARRESTS THAN EITHER OF THE OTHER CITIES. HOWEVER, IN THE TRIAL COURTROOM ITSELF, THE CONVICTION RATE WAS SIMILAR FOR THE THREE CITIES. CASE AND DEFENDANT CHARACTERISTICS WERE DEFINED AS DEFENDANT ECONOMIC STATUS, STRENGTH OF EVIDENCE, DIFFERENCES IN CHARACTERISTICS OF DEFENDANTS AS THEY ARE RELEVANT TO TYPES OF CRIME WITH WHICH THEY ARE CHARGED, AND THE IDENTITY OF THE COURTROOM WORKGROUPS. THESE VARIABLES AND THE THREE OUTCOMES WERE EXAMINED FOR THESE FACTORS: (1) VARIANCE IN REGRESSION ON NUMBER OF DAYS FROM ARREST TO DISPOSITION BY SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS, (2) RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DECISION TO PLEAD GUILTY AND SELECTED CASE CHARACTERISTICS, (3) RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DECISION TO CHOOSE BENCH TRIAL OVER JURY TRIAL AND SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS, AND (4) RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DECISION TO CONVICT OR ACQUIT AND SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS. SEVERAL GENERAL TRENDS EMERGED FROM THESE ANALYSES, THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OF WHICH IS THAT THE DATA IN COMBINATION DO NOT ENABLE DECISIONMAKERS TO MAKE VERY GOOD PREDICTIONS. BALTIMORE TRIAL COURTROOM WORKGROUPS MANAGED THEIR CASELOAD WITH A LOW GUILTY PLEA RATE AND CONVICTED ALMOST THE SAME PROPORTION OF THEIR DEFENDANTS AS DID CHICAGO AND DETROIT. HOWEVER, DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CASE WERE IMPORTANT IN BALTIMORE. FURTHER, THERE WERE DISTINCT DIFFERENCES IN THE LENGTH OF TIME FOR FELONY DISPOSITION IN EACH CITY. THE STRUCTURE OF WORKGROUPS HAD A DIRECT EFFECT ON THE INCIDENCE AND CHARACTER OF PLEA BARGAINING IN THESE CITIES, AND BOTH CHOICES, GUILTY PLEA OVER TRIAL AND BENCH TRIAL OVER A JURY TRIAL, APPEAR TO BE CLOSELY RELATED TO TWO ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF COURTROOM WORKGROUPS IN THE THREE CITIES: THE FAMILIARITY AMONG THEM AND THE INCENTIVES MOTIVATING THEIR BEHAVIOR. FURTHER FINDINGS, FOOTNOTES, AND TABULAR DATA ARE INCLUDED. (AOP)
Index Term(s): Court case flow management; Court personnel; Evaluation; Illinois; Maryland; Michigan
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66839

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