Prosecutorial Decision-Making: Anatomy of Discretion / 29 April 2013

2013 Series on Researcher/Practitioner Discourse on VAW

Date: Monday, April 29, 2013
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm Central Time
Location: Your Desk

Presenters: Bruce Frederick, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Don Stemen, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a member of the Graduate Faculty at Loyola University, Chicago.

Jannette Brickman, J.D. is the Senior Program Associate, overseeing the Supervised Visitation Initiative at the Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Victimization & Safety.

Content: Prosecutors have broad discretion in making decisions that influence criminal case outcomes. Their decisions are pivotal on whether to file charges, to engage victims in their decision-making process, to proceed with prosecution, to craft plea offers, to seek restitution, to recommend the terms of sentencing. Prosecutors do so with little public or judicial scrutiny.

Faculty will review the findings and implications of the Anatomy of Discretion study, examining the factors  that most greatly influence the decision-making of prosecutors in criminal cases, including domestic violence. Elements often found to be important in decision-making include the quality of the evidence, the availability of testimony, the type of crime, the likelihood of successful prosecution. Contextual factors have not been historically scrutinized.  The AOD study examined the influence of prosecutor characteristics, their perspectives on justice and fairness, organizational constraints, working  relationships within the criminal legal system, and/or the likely consequences of successful prosecution. The practical implications of these decision-making factors will be reviewed.

Articles: Frederick, B. & Stemen, D. (2012). “The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision-Making.” Summary Report to the National Institute of Justice. NCJFS # 240335.

Registration Details: This webinar is open to OVW Grantees and the general public.

  • GTEAP (Arrest) GRANTEES: you are REQUIRED to enter your OVW-issued grant number when registering for this training. 
A webinar is an on-line seminar and requires access to the internet to connect. 

Audio options are: 
1) Teleconference (your standard long distance charges will apply)
2) VoIP (free audio through the internet, speakers are required). 

Do you require closed captioning? BWJP requires 5 business days notice. Please email us at with "Closed Captioning" in the subject line. 

***You will receive a confirmation email from immediately after registering.  If you don’t see it in your inbox, please check your spam or junk mail. You will receive the invitation containing the webinar and audio information the day before the event. Please keep both emails***

Questions of a technical nature or regarding your grant or eligibility for the webinar should be forwarded to BWJP ( If you have questions about the content of the webinar, please contact Barbara Hart (



Funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services
Copyright © 2009 Battered Women’s Justice Project
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