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NCJ Number: 97941 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecutorial Decision-Making in Finland - The Results of a Simulation Study
Author(s): M Joutsen; J Kalske
Corporate Author: National Research Institute of Legal Policy
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 90
Sponsoring Agency: National Research Institute of Legal Policy
Helsinki , FI-00531
Publication Number: 67
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Finland
Annotation: This report focuses on the Finnish component of an international study on prosecutorial decisionmaking, undertaken to analyze such features as uniformity of decisions and to test a simulation approach to research on a national scale.
Abstract: Discussion focuses on the organization of prosecution in Finland, with emphasis on the county prosecutors, the city prosecutors, and the Chancellor of Justice, who heads the prosecution effort. A review of the prosecutorial decisionmaking process covers the prosecutor's role, the scope for discretion, prosecutorial discretion in praxis, constraints on the use of discretion, and data on the use of discretion. Questions considered in the study include differences in decisionmaking factors, differences in acceptance of cases for prosecution, and degree of agreement on offense definitions and on sentencing policies. Questionnaires were mailed to all public prosecutors in February 1983. Each prosecutor was given 30 routine criminal cases and was asked to give his response for each case on a separate worksheet (questionnaire). All of the cases involved one adult, criminally responsible suspect. By July 1983, 393 of the 395 prosecutors had replied; responses were then analyzed by computer. Findings indicate that considerable uniformity exists in Finnish prosecutorial decisionmaking. The agreement on the single most important decision, whether to prosecute, was extremely high. However, there was lesser agreement regarding such questions as strength of evidence, seriousness of the offense, and criminal record of the suspect. Footnotes and 19 tables are included. Appendixes include translations of the cases and the worksheet as well as information on the respondents.
Index Term(s): Finland; Foreign criminal justice systems; Prosecutorial discretion; Simulation
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