AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

"Some Things Are[n't] Just Better Left as Secrets:" Insights into How Prosecutors Make Their Decisions

by Shanda Maree Angioli

Institution: San Diego State University
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2062158
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/134828


This thesis focuses on prosecutorial decision-making. Qualitative semi-structured indepth interviews were conducted with ten former prosecutors who worked in various district attorneys' offices throughout California and Illinois to determine how they made their decisions regarding charging, plea bargaining, trying juveniles as adults, and seeking the death penalty. This study investigates whether prosecutors only consider case-related legal factors when making these decisions, or whether they sometimes consider extra-legal factors (e.g., race and socioeconomic status of the defendant) as well. The results of this study suggest that prosecutors considered many factors when making their decisions. These factors include: evidence/provability, elements of the crime, prior criminal history, legal status of the suspect, victim's request, law enforcement, relationship between prosecutor and defense counsel, media influence/high profile cases, witness credibility and/or victim credibility, community influence, office policies, and race of the suspect. Many other conclusions were drawn based on the results of the research