The purpose of this follow-on project was to dig deeper into two points of prosecutorial discretion—dismissals of filed cases and deferred judgments for defendants—to examine whether the characteristics of defendants or the reasons for the dismissal or deferred judgment differed by defendant race/ethnicity.
Prosecutors’ ability to exercise a wide degree of discretion has the potential to contribute to equitable—or inequitable—outcomes for defendants. This study analyzed felony cases accepted for prosecution by the Denver District Attorney’s Office to understand the presence and extent of racial and ethnic differences at four key points of prosecutorial discretion. Administrative data was supplemented with qualitative interviews to understand the factors that may be contributing to differences. Next steps will examine outcomes to better understand the context and decision-making processes associated with areas of disparities.