Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 6. Prosecution Responses

Section  3 — Will aggressive prosecutions or sentences increase the demand for trials?

A study of four prosecution programs in four states where prosecutors specifically adopted (what they claimed to be) "no drop" prosecution policies (and in fact proceeded with the majority of all cases brought by law enforcement) found that trial rates ranged from a high of 13 percent to just 1 percent. Further research has suggested that the highest rates would recede once the aggressive prosecution programs were more established. In San Diego, which had adopted a no-drop policy a decade earlier, only 2 percent of the cases subsequently went to trial. [196] Furthermore, in these no-drop jurisdictions, sentencing included incarceration in 21 to 76 percent of the four jurisdictions. [196]

Implications for Prosecutors

Increased domestic violence prosecutions may not result in a dramatically increased proportion of trials, although there may be a transitory increase as defenders test prosecution resolve. (Research basis: Although implications are based on only one study, the study looked at four different no-drop prosecution programs in four states.)

Implications for Judges

Judicial administrators can rest assured that aggressive domestic violence prosecution will not result in dramatically increased and sustained demand for jury or bench trials. (Research basis: Although implications are based on one study, the study looked at four different no-drop prosecution programs in four states.)

Date Created: June 5, 2009