A Look at the Prosecutorial Decision Making Process
The Vera Institute of Justice's study entitled The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision Making, with the support of the National Institute of Justice, analyzed how prosecutors make decisions in criminal cases. The Vera Institute conducted their study by looking at such factors as initial case screening and charging decision, plea bargains, recommendations for sentencing and case dismissal filings. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the current prosecutorial decision making process lack of public oversight is really serving the goals of the criminal justice system and fairness to defendants and victims.
The study found that while prosecutors said they were "committed to doing the right thing," prosecutors had differences of opinions on what is considered "fair treatment" of victims and defendants, preferred different plea bargaining strategies and had different constraints placed upon them. However, the study revealed that there were two common questions that prosecutors asked themselves, which influenced the outcomes of their decision making process-Can I prove the case? And should I prove the case?
Results of the study reflect that prosecutors used the strength of evidence as the primary factor in their decision making process balanced by other factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the defendant's prior criminal history, fairness to the victim and defendant as well as contextual factors such as office polices, constraints of lack of resources such as shortage of courtrooms and judges and their relationships with colleagues and other actors in the criminal justice system including law enforcement officers, judges and defense attorneys in making their decisions. The study recommended that future research should focus on the magnitude of these constraints and the pressures they have on influencing prosecutorial decisions.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?
Since the investigation and prosecution of defendants is a very complicated process of rules and procedures, influenced by the constraints placed upon prosecutors, it is necessary for defendants to seek the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges and make sure they are being fairly represented.
If you are facing criminal charges for a misdemeanor or felony including DUI, vehicular manslaughter, drug crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes, property crimes, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sex crimes, having the proper legal representation can influence the outcome of your case. Imhoff & Associates, PC-Criminal Attorneys understand how to navigate the criminal justice system. We have earned a reputation for working with prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure that you receive a fair and just defense. Your Imhoff criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate all the evidence against, build a strong defense on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate alternative sentencing for you or try to get the case dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.