An Inquiry into the Relationship Between Thoroughness of Police Investigation and Case Disposition,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
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The author found a significant difference in the thoroughness of police investigation and reporting in two selected jurisdictions that had contrasting filing policies. Strict filing standards apparently resulted in more thorough investigation. We expected to observe the impact of these differences in investigative thoroughness in all aspects of case disposition. Our hypothesis was that more thorough investigations estigations would result in fewer dismissals, less plea bargaining, and more convictions. In fact our sample did disclose a lower dismissal rate in the juriisdiction with more thorough investigations. As for case dispositions, the results were much less conclusive. In only one category of cases albeit the largest, did the sentences in Jurisdiction A consistently exceed those imposed in Jurisdiction B. No cases in A went to trial, and all of those that did in B resulted in convictions. Possibly a larger sample might disclose more significant patterns of differences between jurisdictions in the disposition of their cases. But the comparison would still entail the difficult task of weighting the different sentence alternatives and the methodological difficulties of controlling for all of the variables that affect court processing and disposition. She believes that the differences in dismissal rates disclosed in this study are important. Criminal justice officals should be mindful of the level of investigative thoroughness maintained in their jurisdiction. Of extreme interest and use is the analysis of the information police investigators routinely provide, or fail to provide prosecutors.
- Sociology and Law