Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision Making – Technical Report(NCJ 240334)

Authors of this report followed two county prosecutors’ offices to examine the impact of legal, quasi-legal, and extra-legal factors on case outcomes throughout the prosecutorial process. The report identifies relationships, along with rules and resources, as contextual constraints that can trump prosecutorial evaluations of the strength and seriousness of the evidence and the defendant’s criminal history. While the report finds that prosecutors generally do not alter their decisions simply based on the relationship with the defense attorney, some newer ADAs expressed that a cooperative defense attorney would receive more cooperation from the prosecution, while an antagonistic relationship between the two could result in negative consequences , like less time to prepare, for the defense attorney.
Release Year: 
Bruce Frederick (Vera Institute of Justice) and Don Stemen (Loyola University Chicago)
Updated October 20, 2014