Prosecutorial discretion to defer criminalization: The effects of defendant's ascribed and achieved status characteristics

Celesta A. Albonetti, John Hepburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research contributes to a further understanding of prosecutorial discretion by exploring tenets of casual attribution theory and etiology of bias theory as each informs an uncertainty avoidance perspective on the prosecutor's decision to divert felony drug defendants from criminal prosecution and into a treatment program. The sociolegal consequences of the exercise of this early screening decision are expressed by both conflict theorists and labeling theorists. Our analysis involves estimating main effects and interaction effects of defendant ascribed status and achieved status on the likelihood of diversion. The findings indicate partial support for hypotheses derived from the theoretical perspectives pursued. In addition, these findings point to a more complex model of the subjective nature of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, a model that benefits from understanding the salience of minimizing uncertainty in the decision to criminals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1996

Keywords

  • Logistic regression
  • Prosecutorial diversion
  • Uncertainty avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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