Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Journal Article

Citizen Oversight and the Electoral Incentives of Criminal Prosecutors

Sanford C. Gordon and Gregory A. Huber
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 46, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 334-351
DOI: 10.2307/3088380
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3088380
Page Count: 18
Were these topics helpful?
See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Citizen Oversight and the Electoral Incentives of Criminal Prosecutors
Preview not available

Abstract

Popular wisdom suggests that only by securing convictions can elected prosecutors cultivate the perception that they are tough on crime. This article considers why voters might use conviction rates to evaluate prosecutors and whether justice is subverted as a consequence. Citizens lack information about individual cases and prosecutor behavior. We model voter oversight of prosecutors in light of these difficulties. Voters use the promise of reelection given observed outputs to induce prosecutors to reduce uncertainty through investigation and subsequently to punish the guilty and free the innocent. The model demonstrates that an optimal voter strategy is always to reelect prosecutors who obtain convictions. Most importantly, even voters who most fear wrongful convictions should reward success at trial. Voter attitudes and beliefs instead influence rewards for cases concluded out of court, including plea bargains. Finally, we derive sanctions necessary to prevent prosecutors from suppressing evidence when doing so is politically tempting.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
334
    334
  • Thumbnail: Page 
335
    335
  • Thumbnail: Page 
336
    336
  • Thumbnail: Page 
337
    337
  • Thumbnail: Page 
338
    338
  • Thumbnail: Page 
339
    339
  • Thumbnail: Page 
340
    340
  • Thumbnail: Page 
341
    341
  • Thumbnail: Page 
342
    342
  • Thumbnail: Page 
343
    343
  • Thumbnail: Page 
344
    344
  • Thumbnail: Page 
345
    345
  • Thumbnail: Page 
346
    346
  • Thumbnail: Page 
347
    347
  • Thumbnail: Page 
348
    348
  • Thumbnail: Page 
349
    349
  • Thumbnail: Page 
350
    350
  • Thumbnail: Page 
351
    351