Despite this enormous power, few avenues currently exist to assess the day-to-day operations of prosecutors’ offices. One solution to this problem is to develop a method of rating or ranking prosecutors’ offices. In a range of other areas—from education and environmental protection to election oversight—public policy indices have shown promise in empowering democratic oversight.
This report sets forth a framework for developing a prosecutorial rating system. The first part discusses past efforts toward developing ratings systems for prosecutors’ offices—efforts that future developers will want to build on. The second provides a road map for the development process, breaking the process into a series of stages: assembling personnel and planning, defining the index’s goals and audience, designing the index, gathering data, compiling and analyzing the data, and disseminating the results.
Investigating Police Shootings. Recent deaths of black men at the hands of the police have underscored the desperate need to assure all Americans that the criminal justice system values their lives and is committed to ridding itself of racial bias. Providing that assurance will require reforms not just in policing but in prosecution as well. It is especially imperative to rethink the way that fatal shootings by police officers are investigated and prosecuted. A new report from the Stanford Criminal Justice Center – At Arm’s Length: Improving the Criminal Investigation of Police Shootings – recommends ways to improve the criminal investigation and prosecution of police shootings.
Read the full report: At Arm’s Length: Investigating and Prosecuting Police Shootings
Read the Washington Post Opinions article here: The way forward after black men are shot dead
With assistance from four law school students who enrolled in a Spring 2015 practicum, we gathered data from 52 of California’s 58 counties (representing 98 percent of the state’s population) on the race and gender demographic composition of their district attorney offices, including the elected District Attorney, supervising prosecutors and line prosecutors. We released the report, Stuck in the ’70s, analyzing our findings in Summer 2015. Building off these findings, in Fall 2015, with the assistance of five law students enrolled in a practicum, we conducted case studies on five counties to better understand the importance of and strategies for diversifying prosecutors’ offices.
Read the SLS News article: Stanford Criminal Justice Center Report Finds California Prosecutors Do Not Reflect the State’s Diversity