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Prosecution of Felony Arrests, 1980

NCJ Number
B Boland; E Brady
Date Published
115 pages
This report, the third in a series, presents data from 28 jurisdictions (1) describing felony case processing in urban prosecutors' offices and (2) showing what happens to criminal cases between the arrest and the sentence to prison.

The data came from PROMIS and other sources and generally involved cases processed in 1980. The analysis focused on the levels and sources of case attrition, the plea process, sentencing patterns and sentencing disparity, and the length of time for case processing. About half of the arrests were rejected by the prosecutor before court charges were filed or were later dismissed in court. In all jurisdictions, from 78 percent to 97 percent of all plea and trial adjudications involved guilty pleas. The jurisdictions varied significantly in the way they handle the plea process, with no bargaining in some jurisdictions. One-tenth of the defendants arrested for a felony were sentenced to State prison. The jurisdictions ranged from 57 to 246 days in the median length of time from arrest to final disposition. Data tables and appendixes present profiles of each jurisdiction and its case processing and give case processing statistics for different types of crime. A list of reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics is included.