Published: April, 2013| Bruce Frederick, Ph.D., Don Stemen, Ph.D., Jannette Brickman, J.D.

Faculty 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 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 are reviewed.