CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Volkov on Prosecutors and Petty Violent Offenses in Russia

Vadim Volkov (European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP)) has posted The Prosecutor Effects in Trials for Petty Violent Offences in Russia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The Russian Criminal Procedure Code specifies two possible types of trial for petty violent offences. The normal procedure is referred to as private prosecution. The victim initiates the case by submitting the claim directly to the court and acts as prosecutor. The second possible trial type for the same category of offences includes preliminary investigation by the police and the participation of the public prosecutor in court hearings on behalf of the victim. In practice both procedures are used with comparable frequency.

The paper utilizes this duality of procedure and employs the quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design to compare trial outcomes in the two types of trial and examine the effects associated with the participation of the public prosecutor in court. 

It uses two datasets: 

(a) that includes information on the entire population of defendants tried for offences in question between 2009 and 2013 and,

(b) that resulted from the one-to-one merger of (a) with the dataset generated from court verdict texts available online.

Controlling for the selection of cases into the public prosecutor track as well as for legal and extralegal characteristics of offence and offender, the analysis establishes that the participation of the public prosecutor in trials reduces the probability of acquittal and increases the probability of reconciliation of parties and case dismissal (conditional upon the admission of guilt). Another dimension of the public prosecutor effect is the mitigation of disparities in the likelihood of acquittal associated with the occupational status of defendant, save for the law enforcement employees. The latter are more likely to be acquitted than defendants with other occupational status and are less probable to reconcile with the victim.

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