6.1-A. Identify All Possible Case Resolutions.
Case resolutions should encompass the many possible outcomes that can occur, including the type of charge for which the defendant was ultimately convicted, the length and type of sentence (prison, probation, etc.), and conditions imposed in the sentence, such as whether the conviction requires sex offender registration. Exhibit 6-1, below, is a sample list intended to represent a continuum of case resolutions; each resolution is a combination of possible case outcomes.
Each jurisdiction is welcome to add, delete, or modify any of the case resolutions in Exhibit 6-1 as appropriate for its circumstances. It is important to note that the case resolutions should be based on objective criteria (e.g., “sentence does not involve incarceration”) as opposed to subjective criteria (e.g., “lighter sentence than deemed appropriate”) to improve the likelihood that different persons rating a case’s level of success would give the same rating.
6.1-B. Consider Case Complexity.
By viewing case resolutions though the lens of case complexity, discussed in Chapter 5, prosecutors can achieve a fairer and more nuanced view of their case resolutions. For instance, a “not guilty” verdict for a low complexity case and the same resolution for a high complexity case can and should be viewed differently; each resolution, however, requires a deeper case review to determine the reason for the outcome. Keep in mind that the purpose of measuring case resolutions, is to help improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equitableness of prosecution – for cases at all complexity levels – not for the purpose of laying blame or criticizing the prosecutor.
For each case, the office should identify the complexity level and case resolution, and calculate the number and percentages of cases at each case resolution for each level of complexity. For example, results could be: “number and percentage of high complexity cases with defendant found guilty as charged with appropriate upper guideline sentence imposed” and “number and percentage of moderate complexity cases with negotiated plea bargain to major charge with major penalties”.
Each case can be coded for level of complexity and case disposition to generate these measures. The relationship of case resolution to case complexity can be reported in a table like the following: