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Case Attrition

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Case Attrition and Its Effect on the Criminal Justice System Brian C. Kennedy University of Phoenix

CJS220 Steven Weber 09 July 2014

Abstract

The vast criminal justice system in the United States is, in many ways, slow and cumbersome, but ultimately the best model available for a truly free society. Were it not for various mechanisms engineered into the system to organize and streamline proceedings, the system would likely break down, mired in bureaucracy and procedure.

This is known as case attrition, it allows for the overwhelmingly large number of cases and potential cases to be sifted, or “winnowed” out along the procedural highway in order to focus resources on the cases that truly need the attention of a trial or appeal. (Meyer & Grant, 2003, p. 245)

Types of Attrition

Simply deciding on whether or not to report a crime or perceived crime is the first stage. This responsibility often lies with the citizenry and numerous motivations for reporting or non-reporting of crimes exist ranging from self preservation to the lack of importance in the citizens eyes.

Police also have a level of discretion dictated both by statute and departmental policy. They can decide whether or not an action rises to the level of a crime at all or if the crime is worthy of the resources and manpower needed in relation to the departments priorities.

“While maintaining order in our diverse, pluralistic society, with its

consequently localized and sometimes conflicting norms about what constitutes

“order,” police must wield their authority and their power to exercise discretion

(i.e., to make choices) in determining how to perform their work very carefully”.…...

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