An Inquiry into the Relationship between Thoroughness of Police Investigation and Case Disposition.

by Joan R. Petersilia

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Using data on robbery cases from two California prosecutors' offices, an analysis of the degree of completeness of police-provided information was made, and its effect on the disposition of the defendant was assessed. The two offices were chosen based upon evidence of contrasting prosecutorial practices, one office tending to be more strict in the screening of cases prior to the filing decision. The analysis showed that more thorough documentation of essential facts results in fewer case dismissals and more frequent pleas to original charges, thereby lessening court congestion. The instrument employed to analyze the information content of the police reports can be useful for investigator training and to aid prosecutors' offices in making decisions on complaint filing. 24 pp.

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