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Prosecuting Complex Drug Cases: The Challenge for Local Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Date Published
135 pages
A literature review and telephone and mail survey data from more than 100 prosecuting attorneys and assistant attorneys general formed the basis of an assessment of the prosecutor's involvement with complex drug cases.
The analysis focused on the relationship between the local prosecutor and other prosecutorial systems, the responsibility of the local prosecutor and the attorney general, the nature of complex drug cases as a subset of organized crime, and the need for technologically advanced information systems. Results revealed that the distinction between Federal, State, and local responsibilities for the prosecution of complex drug cases is blurred. However, a legitimate and compelling basis exists for the local prosecution of complex drug cases. In addition, complex drug cases are a subset of organized crime cases and should be integrated into this broader prosecution activity. Moreover, current information systems and computer technologies are not adequate for complex prosecutions. Furthermore, training programs for police and prosecutors in the use of advanced investigative and legal techniques are absent or inadequate. The use of civil sanctions in complex drug prosecutions is fragmented and often applied on an ad hoc basis. However, State courts may resist docketing complex cases due their existing backlogs. Recommendations are offered to address each of these issues. Figures, appended survey instrument and program directory, bibliography, and 71 references

Date Published: January 1, 1994