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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83336 Find in a Library
Title: Rural Courts - An Illinois Study
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:(Fall 1981)  Pages:38-42
Author(s): K Golden
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study reviewed 685 felony cases for 2 calendar years in 3 rural Illinois counties to assess the operation of rural courts. It examined such variables as the offense, method of adjudication, extent of plea agreements, and defendant representation.
Abstract: All three counties are located in rural west central Illinois and are part of the same judicial circuit. Study methodology involved the individual review of felony case files in the three counties for calendar years 1978 and 1979. Data on several variables related to case adjudication were pulled from each case file and recorded. The study was limited to cases involving adult defendants and those for which a formal information or indictment was issued. Evaluation indicated that the courts appear to be characterized by cooperation and accommodation rather than by a competitive atmosphere. Guilty pleas, viewed as advantageous by both prosecution and defense, dominate felony court activities in all locations. Exchange and concessions in the form of plea agreements between the parties exist in nearly all guilty plea dispositions presented to the court. In addition, most defendants in these areas are indigent and are therefore represented by public defenders. It is possible that the nature of rural law enforcement and rural criminal justice, with its relatively slow paced character, may ironically promote the dominance of guilty pleas to a greater extent than do urban law enforcement practices and criminal justice systems. Further exploration and analysis in other rural environments is warranted. Three tables, 1 note, and 11 references are included.
Index Term(s): Felony; Felony courts; Illinois; Rural crime; Rural urban comparisons
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