Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1876474
 
 

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Who’s Better at Defending Criminals? Does Type of Defense Attorney Matter in Terms of Producing Favorable Case Outcomes


Thomas H. Cohen


Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: Office of Probation and Pretrial Services

2011


Abstract:     
The role of defense counsel in criminal cases constitutes a topic of substantial importance for judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, scholars, and policymakers. What types of defense counsel (e.g., public defenders, privately retained attorneys, or assigned counsel) represent defendants in criminal cases and how do these defense counsel types perform in terms of securing favorable outcomes for their clients? These and other issues are addressed in this article analyzing felony case processing data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Specifically, this paper examines whether there are differences between defense counsel type and the adjudication and sentencing phases of criminal case processing. Results show that private attorneys and public defenders secure similar adjudication and sentencing outcomes for their clients. Defendants with assigned counsel, however, receive less favorable outcomes compared to their counterparts with public defenders. This article concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings and possible avenues for future research.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: defense counsel, criminal case processing

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Date posted: July 1, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Thomas H., Who’s Better at Defending Criminals? Does Type of Defense Attorney Matter in Terms of Producing Favorable Case Outcomes (2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1876474 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1876474

Contact Information

Thomas H. Cohen (Contact Author)
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: Office of Probation and Pretrial Services ( email )
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20544
United States
202-502-1612 (Phone)
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