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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76094 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Providing Information About Prosecution Witnesses - The Effects on Case-processing Decisions in Criminal Court
Corporate Author: Vera Institute of Justice
United States of America

New York Victim Service Agency
United States of America
Project Director: R C Davis
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 53
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Albany, NY 12203-3764
New York Victim Service Agency
New York, NY 10007
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, NY 10279
Grant Number: 2456
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper analyzes the effects of three activities of the Victim/Witness Assistance Project (V/WAP) of New York's Brooklyn Criminal Court; each of the activities involves a systematic effort to alter decisionmaking in the court by providing a particular type of information.
Abstract: V/WAP was a comprehensive program designed to address the needs of victims and witnesses in Brooklyn Criminal Court. The program was administered by the Vera Institute during the study, but it was subsequently absorbed within New York City's Victim Services Agency. This report considers the program's effects on the decisionmaking activities of the courtroom prosecutor, prosecutors' supervisors, and the court. For example, when V/WAP was able to inform courtroom prosecutors that a civilian witness, absent from court on a hearing date, was interested in prosecuting and willing to come to court another time, the information enabled prosecutors more frequently to overcome defense motions to dismiss. This effect was strongest in cases which otherwise would have been the most likely to be dismissed. Also, cases with chronically uncooperative witnesses reached disposition twice as quickly when V/WAP informed prosecutors' supervisors that the witnesses could never be expected to appear in court. When V/WAP provided information about police witnesses' duty schedules, the court more often avoided adjournment of cases to police witnesses' regular days off. This result was significant because adjournments to dates when officers are unavailable for duty usually result in further adjournments and wasted court appearances by other parties. These positive effects suggest that V/WAP has achieved credibility as a supplier of information about prosecution witnesses. Tables, 8 references, and appendixes describing V/WAP and presenting about 45 references are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Court case flow management; Criminal proceedings; New York; Prosecution; Victim Services Notification; Victim-witness programs
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