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Examining Charging Agreement Between Police and Prosecutors in Rape Cases

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 56 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 385-413
David Holleran; Dawn Beichner; Cassia Spohn
Date Published
July 2010
29 pages
This study used data on defendants arrested for forcible rape in two urban jurisdictions to examine the influence on charging agreement between police and prosecutors.
Although prior research has contributed to understanding of the factors that influence sexual assault case processing, it has primarily been viewed through the prosecutorial lens. The authors assert that a prosecutor's charging decision involves not only a decision to file or reject the charge but, assuming that the case is not rejected, also a decision regarding the charge that should be filed. Accordingly, they examined the congruence between the charge filed by police at arrest with the charge filed by the prosecutor. The results indicate that charging agreement between police and prosecutors in rape cases is governed by a legal sufficiency framework in Philadelphia, where a specialized charging unit receives cases after decisions to charge have been made, and a trial sufficiency framework in Kansas City, MO, where a specialized unit makes the decision to charge and uses vertical prosecution from screening through disposition. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.