As the most powerful position of the courtroom workgroup, the prosecutor plays an essential role in the criminal justice system. From the defendant's initial contact with the criminal court process when the prosecutor makes the charging decision, until sentencing when the prosecutor's recommendation guides judicial discretion, prosecutors hold the power to decide a defendant's fate. Despite the parameters that govern their ability to use discretion, the prosecutor still maintains a significant amount of power to influence crucial decisions with regard to the defendant. The current study addresses the issue of prosecutorial discretion and the ability to mishandle the powers bestowed upon such a powerful position. While prosecutorial discretion has a broad base, the study was narrowed to specifically concentrate on discretion as it impacts plea bargaining and final dispositions. Additionally, an analysis of the data looks at whether or not a defendant faces jury trial penalty for exercising his/her constitutional right to a trial by jury. A statistical comparison was constructed using data collected with respect to specific murder and sexual battery statutes over a 24-month period. Based on the statistical data provided within the study, those individuals who accepted the plea deal offered by the state faced a far less severe punishment than those who opted to go to trial.
If this is your Honors thesis, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu
Eastep, Mary Ann
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Hall, Gina, "Prosecutorial discretion and plea bargaining: is there a jury trial penalty?" (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1221.