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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining the Moderating Effects of Defendant Characteristics on the Relationship Between Crime Type and Prosecutorial Decision Making
by Howley, Caitlin M., M.S., The University of Mississippi, 2019, 83; 27662745
Abstract (Summary)

The concept of plea bargaining was not common practice until the nineteenth century (Langbein, 1978; Alschuler, 1979). Before that time, criminal defendants lacked representation in the court, leaving the judge to determine sentencing and punishment. Plea bargaining has become the prominent practice, with around 90% of cases, state and federal, resulting in a plea (Rabin, 1972; Lagoy, Senna, & Siegel, 1976; Alschuler, 1979; Alschuler, 1983; Scott & Stuntz, 1992; Schulhofer, 1992; Starkweather, 1992; Ross, 2006; Silveira, 2017). The concept of plea bargaining is inevitably accompanied by discretion, specifically prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion grants prosecutors power in deciding what charges they would seek against suspects and penalties associated with the crime(s) (Welling, 1987). Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums have affected how prosecutors are able to use their discretion.

Previous literature concerning plea bargaining and prosecutorial discretion fails to discuss the difference in usage of plea bargaining between crime types (violent and nonviolent), specifically in cases dealing with multiple charges as well as the moderating effect of defendant characteristics on the relationship between plea bargaining and crime type.. The purpose of this paper is to close the previously mentioned gaps in the literature by determining if plea bargaining is utilized more often in cases against defendants who have committed violent crime or nonviolent crime and to uncover the moderating effect of defendant characteristics on the relationship between plea bargaining and crime type.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kaiser, Kimberly A.
Commitee: Walker, D'Andre, Boateng, Francis, Beckman, Laura
School: The University of Mississippi
Department: Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: MAI 81/11(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology
Keywords: Plea bargaining, Prosecutorial discretion, Defendant characteristics
Publication Number: 27662745
ISBN: 9798644903320
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