Skip to main content

Prosecutors' Perceptions of and Experiences with Case-Related Data Instrument

Published onFeb 09, 2022
Prosecutors' Perceptions of and Experiences with Case-Related Data Instrument
·

Introduction

In this interview, I will ask you questions about your background, cases you have handled, working relationships with police and other prosecutors, office policies and procedures, and managing case-related data, by which I mean any information or evidence related to a specific case.

(Write down the following before the interview?)

  • Does the participant identify as male, female, or other?

  • What race is the participant?

Personal Background

  • How many years have you worked as a prosecutor?

  • How long have you worked in your current position?

Case Assignment & Decision Making

Case Assignment

  • Does your office have a policy on case assignment?

    • If YES:

      • What is the policy? (Is it based on case type?)

        • Why?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • How, then, cases are allocated?

        • Why that way?

  • What types of cases do you typically handle?

Case Decision Making

  • Does your office have a policy dictating when to file charges on a defendant?

    • If YES:

      • What is the policy?

        • Why?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • What factors do you consider when making the decision to file charges on a defendant?

  • If you decide not to proceed with charges against the defendant, what is the office policy?

    • Is it case specific? Why/why not?

    • Do you have to get permission from the officer?

      • If YES:

        • Why?

        • How does that work?

      • If NO:

        • Why not?

    • Do you have to get permission from the victim?

      • If YES:

        • Why?

        • How does that work?

      • If NO:

        • Why not?

Law Enforcement-Prosecutor Partnerships

I’m now going to ask you about working with law enforcement on cases.

  • Does your office receive initial case files from law enforcement to review and decide whether to proceed with charges?

    • If YES:

      • What is the policy for an initial review of investigative case files?

      • For what type of cases do you perform initial reviews?

      • After you receive initial case files from law enforcement, do you continue to work with them?

        • If YES, why?

        • If NO, why not?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • How do cases come to your office’s attention?

Completed Case Review

  • What is required for your office to accept a completed case file from law enforcement?

  • Is there a time limitation for law enforcement to submit a completed case file to the District Attorney’s Office?

    • If YES:

      • What is the time frame?

        • Why?

      • Is it case specific?

        • If yes, explain the time frame for the specific cases.

          • Sexual cases?

          • Violent cases?

          • Crime with victims?

    • If NO, why not?

  • What are the different types of case-related data (i.e., information, evidence) you receive from law enforcement?

    • For EACH type:

      • Digital or physical?

        • What are the benefits of it being that way?

        • What are the problems with it being that way?

      • How do you receive it? Why that way?

      • How do you store it?

      • Where do you store it? Why that way?

      • How do you analyze it?

      • How does its form affect your ability to:

        • Analyze it?

        • Use to pursue a case?

        • Use in court?

        • Share?

  • Do you ever have to follow up with law enforcement and obtain additional information for completed case files?

    • If YES:

      • When?

      • Why?

      • What is the office policy and why?

      • How often?

      • For what type of cases?

      • What types of additional information are required?

      • How often is law enforcement allowed to locate the missing evidence?

    • If NO, why not?

I’m now going to ask you about managing case-related data.

  • What data management systems do you use at your office?

    • Why those?

    • Why not others?

  • What types of data are collected and stored on the data management systems? Why?

  • Which types of data are particularly relevant to your day-to-day work? Why?

  • Which types of data are not particularly relevant to your day-to-day work? Why?

  • What is your office policy on data sharing?

    • Intraoffice?

    • Interoffice?

  • With whom does your office share data?

    • Other members in your office?

      • If YES:

        • Why?

        • What kinds?

          • For each, what form (digital or physical)?

          • For each, how are they shared?

      • If NO, why not?

    • Other members in your circuit?

      • If YES:

        • Why?

        • What kinds?

          • For each, what form (digital or physical)?

          • For each, how are they shared?

      • If NO, why not?

    • Prosecutors in other counties?

      • If YES:

        • Why?

        • What kinds?

          • For each, what form (digital or physical)?

          • For each, how are they shared?

      • If NO, why not?

Prosecutor-Prosecutor Partnerships

Now, I’ll ask you about working with other prosecutors on cases.

Intra-Office Partnerships

  • Have you ever reached out to another prosecutor in your office to get evidence for a defendant?

    • If YES:

      • For what type(s) of cases?

      • Why?

      • How often?

      • Can you tell me about the most recent time you did this?

        • Were they helpful? Why/why not?

    • If NO, why not?

Inter-Office Partnerships

(If the participant’s office doesn’t allow interoffice sharing, skip this section).

  • Have you ever reached out to another prosecutor outside your office to get evidence for a defendant?

    • If YES:

      • For what type(s) of cases?

      • Why?

      • How often?

      • Can you tell me about the most recent time you did this?

        • Were they helpful? Why/why not?

    • If NO, why not?

  • Have prosecutors from other jurisdictions ever reached out to you to get evidence for a defendant?

    • If YES:

      • Why?

      • How often?

      • Can you tell me about the most recent time you did this?

        • Were they helpful? Why/why not?

    • If NO, why not?

Case Experiences

I’m now going to ask you about different cases you’ve handled.

(If participant mentions same case for any below, ask if they have another case they can tell you about.)

Most Recent Case Pursued

  • Tell me about the most recent case you pursued.

  • Did you decide to negotiate a deal that would facilitate a plea?

    • If YES:

      • Why?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • Did you get a conviction?

        • If YES:

          • Was the conviction surprising?

            • Why?

        • If NO:

          • Why not?

          • Was the acquittal surprising?

            • Why?

  • What were the types of evidence you had?

  • Was there evidence you wish you had but didn’t?

    • If YES:

      • What?

      • Why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • Did you ask law enforcement for additional evidence?

    • If YES, why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • Any evidence you had but opted not to use?

    • If YES:

      • What?

      • Why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • What was the most valuable evidence you had? Why?

  • What was the least valuable evidence you had? Why?

  • What effect do you think the evidence had on the case outcome? Why?

Most Recent Case Dismissed:

  • Tell me about the most recent case you dismissed.

  • What was the reason you dismissed it?

  • Did any of the following play a role? Explain why/why not for each.

    • Lack of evidence? (What types if able to name?)

    • Lack of police follow up?

    • Missing witnesses?

    • Unreliable witnesses?

Most Memorable Pursued

  • Tell me about the most recent case you pursued.

  • Did you decide to negotiate a deal that would facilitate a plea?

    • If YES:

      • Why?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • Did you get a conviction?

    • If YES:

      • Was the conviction surprising?

      • Why?

    • If NO:

      • Why not?

      • Was the acquittal surprising?

      • Why?

  • What were the types of evidence you had?

  • Was there evidence you wish you had but didn’t?

    • If YES:

      • What?

      • Why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • Did you ask law enforcement for additional evidence?

    • If YES, why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • Any evidence you had but opted not to use?

    • If YES:

      • What?

      • Why?

    • If NO, why not?

  • What was the most valuable evidence you had? Why?

  • What was the least valuable evidence you had? Why?

  • What effect do you think the evidence had on the case outcome? Why?

 Most Memorable Dismissed

  •  Tell me about the most memorable case you dismissed.

  • What was the reason you dismissed it?

  • Did any of the following play a role? Explain why/why not for each.

    • Lack of evidence? (What types if able to name?)

    • Lack of police follow up?

    • Missing witnesses?

    • Unreliable witnesses?

Comments
0
comment

No comments here

Why not start the discussion?