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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93644 Find in a Library
Title: Pre-Trial Withdrawals - Trial, Bargain, or Pseudo-Bargain?
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:16  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1983)  Pages:210-223
Author(s): R Douglas
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The correlates of pretrial withdrawals in six magistrates' courts in Melbourne, Australia, were examined on the basis of 887 cases, yielding a total of 1,699 charges.
Abstract: Charges related to over 100 different types of offenses. From these data, the case, charge, and offense category files were constructed. Analysis is generally confined to multicharge cases where one or more charges remained after pretrial withdrawals. Withdrawals were largely confined to charges where the defendant admitted the facts alleged by the police. Only where the defendant had pleaded guilty to all nonwithdrawal charges were denials possibly associated with pretrial withdrawals. The evidence suggests that charges were more likely to be withdrawn when charges were harder to prove. There was strong evidence in support of the proposition that weak cases do not constitute a sufficient condition for withdrawals. The relationship between plea and type of withdrawal was weakest for lesser charges withdrawn and stronger when the dependent variables was greater charges withdrawn. This suggests that the relationship is a reflection of a bargaining process. Pretrial withdrawals may mean fewer convictions, but analysis of the impact of withdrawals on sentence suggests that defendents fare only slightly better when they have been the beneficiaries of withdrawals. The pleas/withdrawal relationship indicates that plea bargaining exists in Melbourne. The lack of a nonrelationship between with withdrawals and sentence means that, as elsewhere, the defendant gains little in exchange for the guilty plea. One note, 5 tables, and 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Australia; Plea negotiations; Pretrial procedures; Pretrial release; Sentencing/Sanctions
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