2018 May 2018 News

Center launches milestone study of prosecutorial charging practices

SMU’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center is partnering with leading researchers on the Prosecutorial Charging Practices Project, a data-driven initiative to shed light on prosecutor practices, inform policymakers and help identify best practices.

The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at SMU Dedman School of Law is partnering with some of the nation’s leading criminal justice researchers to conduct the Prosecutorial Charging Practices Project, the center’s first data-driven criminal justice research project.
This project is an innovative, mixed-methods empirical study that is multi-jurisdictional. The Prosecutorial Charging Practices Project will provide a holistic account of prosecutors’ charging practices. Additionally, it will:

  • Produce descriptive and empirical information about the important factors that influence prosecutorial decision-making;
  • Evaluate how prosecutorial charging decisions affect cases as they progress through the criminal justice system; and
  • Provide a baseline against which to evaluate future prosecutorial practices.

“This research will represent the varied prosecutorial work of three district and/or county attorneys’ offices in discrete geographical locations, with different charging philosophies, said Pamela Metzger, director of the Deason Center and law professor at SMU . “We expect the results to be instructive in determining the relative effects of prosecutorial charging policies on case outcomes.”
Read more at Dedman School of Law.

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