November 15, 2004
Salaries, Plea Rates, and the Career Objectives of Federal Prosecutors
In the above-titled article to be published in the Journal of Law and Economics, Cheryl X. Long, economics professor at Colgate, and Richard T. Boylan, economics professor at Alabama, argue that the ability of a defendant to obtain a favorable plea bargain in a federal case is dependent in part on the salary offered in that locale to attorneys in private law firms. The higher the pay differential between what an AUSA makes in her current job compared to what she could make in a private firm in her locale, the more likely it is that she became an AUSA primarily to obtain some quick trial experience before entering a high-paying big firm job. Thus, such an AUSA is less likely to cut favorable plea deals so that more of her cases will go to trial.
Their conclusion is backed up by emperical research showing a direct correlation between the salary in big firms in a given locale, and the percentage of cases that go to trial in that locale.
To get a copy of the article, click here.
November 15, 2004 | Permalink