Measuring the Effect of Defense Counsel on Homicide Case Outcomes (241158)

This study examined the impact of randomly assigned public defenders and court-appointed private attorneys in the outcome of criminal cases in Philadelphia, PA. The authors of this report used a sample dataset of 3,412 defendants charged with murder between 1994 and 2005. The study shows that compared to appointed counsel, public defenders reduce their client’s murder conviction rate by 19%, lowered the probability that their clients would receive a life sentence by 62%, and reduced overall expected time served in prison by 24.

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James M. Anderson; Paul Heaton
Updated October 20, 2014