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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99249 Find in a Library
Title: Blighted Trees in a Benighted Forest - The Police Officer's Cases, the Prosecutor's Screening and Bargaining Practices, and the Social Scientist's Numbers (From Police Leadership in America, P 216-221, 1985, William A Geller, ed. - See NCJ-98325)
Author(s): A W Alschuler
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The high rates of case dismissal and plea bargaining in urban jurisdictions may be due to prosecutorial failures as well as to police failure, inadequate court resources, and witness noncooperation.
Abstract: In a typical urban jurisdiction, 50 percent of all felony arrests are not prosecuted, and nearly two-thirds either are not prosecuted or are reduced to misdemeanors through plea bargaining. Although William McDonald (in his paper on police-prosecutor conflicts) attributes much of the high dismissal and plea bargaining rates to police investigatory and report-writing inadequacies, others attribute high dismissal and plea bargaining rates to inadequate resources for the full processing of a higher percentage of cases or to victim noncooperation. A factor often ignored, prosecutorial failure, may involve dismissing or plea bargaining all but the cases with an abundance of evidence so as to ensure a good trial record for career advancement. It may reflect bureaucratic cynicism, callousness toward crime, or even laziness. The police and the public have a right to expect that criminal cases are taken seriously by the prosecutor and that they are resolved on their merits. Seven notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Case dismissal; Plea negotiations; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial screening
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