• Sexual Assault Case Processing: A Descriptive Model of Attrition and Decision Making

      Snodgrass, G. Matthew (University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, 2009-03)
      This study examined the outcomes of sexual assault cases reported to the Anchorage Police Department between January 2000 and December 2003. The data include 1,052 cases involving one suspect and one victim (85% of all reported sexual assaults). Cases and charges were tracked through the Alaska Department of Law to determine what was referred, accepted, and convicted. * Overall, 18% of cases were referred for prosecution. The most common referred charge was a sexual assault in the first degree. Seventy-nine percent of referred charges were sexual assault charges. * Overall, 12% of cases were accepted for prosecution. The greatest point of attrition was from report to referral. Once referred, 68% of cases were accepted for prosecution. Sixty-eight percent of charges were accepted by the Department of Law as referred. The most common reasons for not accepting a charge as referred were evidentiary reasons. The most common accepted charge was also a sexual assault in the first degree. Seventy-five percent of accepted charges were sexual assault charges. * Overall, 11% of cases resulted in a conviction. Once accepted, 87% of cases resulted in a conviction. Although convictions were common in accepted cases, accepted charges were often dismissed. While 87% of accepted cases resulted in a conviction, 59% of accepted charges were dismissed. Ninety percent of guilty findings were a result of plea bargaining. With plea bargaining, some charges were dismissed but a conviction was still secured. Fifty-six percent of convicted charges were sexual assault charges. The most common convicted charge was for assault, followed by sexual assault in the second degree.