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Balancing Accuracy and Timeliness: The Stages of Criminal Prosecution in Cook County, IL

Award Information

Award #
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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $32,000)

The purpose of the proposed study is to examine prosecutor assessment of case processing length and outcomes, and any accuracy or timeliness tradeoffs at each stage, to improve efficiency and minimize unnecessary delay. Using felony case data from the Cook County State's Attorney's (SA) Office, the project will examine each stage of processing including the highly discretionary stage before criminal charges are filed. Analyses will consider: 1) how long are stages within criminal cases, and events within stages; 2) whether the length of each stage varies according to covariates at the stage- or case-level; and 3) how courtroom actors explain and evaluate the length of each stage. Data are drawn for a random sample of 350,000 cases with a beginning incident date from 2010 to 2018; and stages are investigation, charging, bond court, pretrial, and trial. Quantitative analyses include discrete multilevel multistate competing risk modeling to examine the cumulative (or regressive) selection process at different stages. Control variable range from arresting agency and court district, to offender and case characteristics. Qualitative research plans include 50 interviews with Cook County prosecutors across units, and interviews of 10 each with investigators, defense attorneys, pretrial services, and judges to review findings.CA/NCF

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).

Date Created: September 27, 2018