The Impact of Defense Council on the Processing and Disposition of Felony Court Cases

Christopher D. Maxwell, ICPSAR/NACJD
Steven B. Dow, Michigan State University
Sheila Royo Maxwell, Michigan State University

In recent years law journals have given considerable attention to the problem of effectiveness of counsel in criminal cases; however, there have been very few empirical studies on the subject. The studies that appear in the literature are not recent, making it difficult to understand the contemporary nature of this problem. This paper presents the findings of a study measuring the impact of counsel, using data from the 75 most populous urban areas in the United States. Using multivariate analysis this study will test for relationships between type of counsel and several decision points between time-of-arrest and the final court disposition. The paper will also explore how these relationships may interact with the suspect's sex and race.

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Updated 05/20/2006