Prosecutorial Discretion Under Resource Constraints: Budget Allocations and Local Death-Charging Decisions

Judicature, 96(4): 161-168 (2013)

21 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2013 Last revised: 5 Apr 2013

Greg Goelzhauser

Utah State University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Do prosecutorial resource constraints influence death-charging decisions? Prosecutors typically contend that death-charging decisions are made independent of budget considerations, and the limited empirical evidence supports this view. Using new data on death-charging decisions from 301 prosecutorial districts across 34 states, the results presented here suggest that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The probability of facing a death charge is higher in prosecutorial districts with larger budgets. The results inform our understanding of the politics of prosecutorial behavior and the policy debate over capital punishment.

Keywords: prosecutors, prosecutorial discretion, budgets, death penalty, capital punishment

JEL Classification: H70, K00

Suggested Citation

Goelzhauser, Greg, Prosecutorial Discretion Under Resource Constraints: Budget Allocations and Local Death-Charging Decisions (2013). Judicature, 96(4): 161-168 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2209911

Greg Goelzhauser (Contact Author)

Utah State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

0725 University Blvd.
Logan, UT 84322-0725
United States

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