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Study: Prosecutorial Discretion Leads to Inconsistent Decision-Making

December 28, 2012 09:37:56 am

A study of prosecutorial decision-making by the Vera Institute of Justice found inconsistencies in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and “considerable variation” in how individual prosecutors handled similar cases.

Vera researchers studied the impact of legal, quasi-legal and extra-legal factors on charging decisions, plea offers, sentence recommendations, and post-filing dismissals in two participating jurisdictions.

The study suggests factors such as lack of resources, internal policies and relationships with law enforcement and other actors in the criminal justice system can contribute to prosecutorial inconsistency.

“These constraints—rules, resources, and relationships—could trump evaluations of strength of the evidence, seriousness of the offense, and defendant criminal history, forcing prosecutors to make decisions that they might not consider ideal,” write Vera researchers.

Read the study HERE.

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