The Use of Prosecutorial Discretion in Disposing Domestic Violence Cases

John T. Krimmel, The College of New Jersey
Paula E. Gormley, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

This paper investigates the phenomenon of prosecutorial discretion in the context of the disposition of domestic violence cases. Pursuant to the institution of mandatory arrest laws in domestic violence calls, the police no longer possess the level of discretion previously held when deciding whether to make arrests. The result has been the displacement of discretion to prosecutors' offices. It is hypothesized that extralegal, rather than evidentiary, factors determine prosecutors' decisions to proceed with convictions against defendants.

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Updated 05/20/2006