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Investigative Decision-making in Public Corruption Cases: Factors Influencing Case Outcomes

NCJ Number
Cogent Social Sciences Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: 2019
Kristine Artello; J. S. Albanese; Christopher Crowther-Downey
Date Published
12 pages
Since it is important for research to delve into how the investigative processes maintain their fact-finding missions in support of the rule of law, this study addresses how public corruption investigations occur and how the investigations themselves are conducted.

Public corruption undermines the rule of law that is crucial to the maintenance of governmental legitimacy and peaceful co-existence. As political divisiveness has grown, politicians have called public corruption investigations "witch hunts" and part of partisan politics, rather than a search for justice. Contemporary attacks on law enforcement charge that they are acting with political motivation, which further undermines the legitimacy of these investigations. In describing the investigation of public corruption, this article uses federal prosecution data to understand the frequency of investigations over the last 30 years. In addition, it relied on interviews with 40 former investigators and prosecutors in examining the process, protocols, tools, and resources needed for successful corruption investigations. Investigations require interagency cooperation (especially at different levels of government) and attention to the use of investigative tools that ensure the legitimacy of the law in the eyes of the accused, the courts, and the general public. In addition, a decline in public corruption cases has occurred in recent years due to the diversion of federal resources to immigration cases. (publisher abstract modified)