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Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 1996

NCJ Number
Timothy C. Hart; Brian A. Reaves Ph.D.
Date Published
October 1999
51 pages
This report describes the processing of felony defendants.

Presents a complete description of the processing of felony defendants, including demographic characteristics, prior arrests and convictions, current arrest charges, criminal justice status at the time of the arrest, type of pretrial release or detention, bail amount, court appearance record, adjudication outcome, and sentence received if convicted. This report uses data collected from a representative sample of felony cases filed in the Nation's 75 largest counties during May 1996.


  • An estimated 54,579 felony cases were filed in the State courts of the Nation's 75 largest counties during May 1996. A fourth of the defendants in these cases were charged with a violent offense, usually assault (11.4%) or robbery (7.1%)
  • About half of the defendants were under age 30. Nineteen percent were under age 21, including 32% of those charged with murder, and 38% of those charged with robbery.
  • At the time of arrest, more than a third of defendants had an active criminal justice status such as probation (16%), release pending disposition of a prior case (13%) or parole (6%).