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Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Substantial Assistance Departures in Federal Crack‐Cocaine and Powder‐Cocaine Cases

Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Substantial Assistance Departures in Federal... Recently there has been a call for research that explores decision‐making at stages prior to sentencing in the criminal justice process. Particularly research is needed under a determinate sentencing system where judicial dispositions are usually restricted by guidelines, which increases the importance of earlier decision‐making stages. As an answer to this call, and in an attempt to build on currents studies on the effects of departures as an intervening mechanism, and a source of unwarranted disparity, this study explores federal sentencing data on offenders convicted of crack‐cocaine and powder‐cocaine offenses. Although decision‐making of all criminal justice actors generally, and prosecutors specifically, has been the subject of much research, studies have yet to resolve the nature and outcome of their “autonomous” discretion. This autonomy becomes especially salient regarding prosecutorial decisions for substantial assistance departures. In deciding who receives a substantial assistance departure, the prosecutor has carte blanche power. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Justice Quarterly Taylor & Francis

Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Substantial Assistance Departures in Federal Crack‐Cocaine and Powder‐Cocaine Cases

Justice Quarterly , Volume 24 (3): 26 – Sep 1, 2007
26 pages

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References (69)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
ISSN
1745-9109
eISSN
0741-8825
DOI
10.1080/07418820701485379
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recently there has been a call for research that explores decision‐making at stages prior to sentencing in the criminal justice process. Particularly research is needed under a determinate sentencing system where judicial dispositions are usually restricted by guidelines, which increases the importance of earlier decision‐making stages. As an answer to this call, and in an attempt to build on currents studies on the effects of departures as an intervening mechanism, and a source of unwarranted disparity, this study explores federal sentencing data on offenders convicted of crack‐cocaine and powder‐cocaine offenses. Although decision‐making of all criminal justice actors generally, and prosecutors specifically, has been the subject of much research, studies have yet to resolve the nature and outcome of their “autonomous” discretion. This autonomy becomes especially salient regarding prosecutorial decisions for substantial assistance departures. In deciding who receives a substantial assistance departure, the prosecutor has carte blanche power.

Journal

Justice QuarterlyTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 2007

Keywords: substantial assistance departures; crack‐cocaine; federal; powder‐cocaine; prosecutorial discretion

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