National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Organizational Efficiency and Early Disposition Programs in Federal Courts, 2006-2009 (ICPSR 34419)

Principal Investigator(s): Kim, KiDeuk, Urban Institute

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Rapid Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This study is an evaluation of the "fast-track" program that was created to alleviate caseload pressures caused by a dramatic increase in immigration-related cases. This program allows a federal prosecutor to offer a below guideline sentence in exchange for a defendant's prompt guilty plea and a waiver of certain rights. Research questions addressed in the study included: (1) to what extent do fast-track programs impact the efficient processing of (primarily) immigration cases and (2) to what extent does prosecutorial discretion exercised in fast-track processing contribute to sentencing disparity.

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

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Study Description

Citation

Kim, KiDeuk. Organizational Efficiency and Early Disposition Programs in Federal Courts, 2006-2009. ICPSR34419-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-05-26. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34419.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34419.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-0013)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    disposition (legal), federal courts, immigration offenses, program evaluation, prosecutorial discretion, sentencing guidelines

Smallest Geographic Unit:    Federal Court District

Geographic Coverage:    Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (state), North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands of the United States, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Time Period:   

  • 2006--2009

Date of Collection:   

  • 2012

Unit of Observation:    Criminal Case

Universe:    Defendant cases processed in federal courts between 2006-2009.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data, aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Rapid Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

Methodology

Study Purpose:    This study seeks to understand the impact that fast-track cases have on the disparity in sentencing decisions when they are used in federal immigration cases.

Study Design:   

This study is primarily interested in two outcome measures: sentence length and case processing time of fast-track versus non fast-track cases. Data were taken from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)(https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/series/73), which merge data from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) with data from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC). Based on multiple yearly cohorts of defendant cases from 2006 to 2009 across the United States, analyses were developed to assess the impact of fast-track programs among immigration offenders. This study was restricted to 89 federal districts located within the United States.

To interpret the difference between treatment and control groups as a causal effect of treatment, propensity score methods were used. To do this, the cases were matched to one another which involved pairing treatment and comparison units that were similar in terms of their observed characteristics. Specifically, characteristics considered were demographics of the defendant, counsel type, criminal history, number of unique statutes, number of dependents the defendant supports, level of acceptance of responsibility, level of education, severity of charges, pretrial detention, and month/year of sentencing.

The analysis is conducted in two schemes. In the first scheme, researchers matched fast-track cases to non-fast-track cases that could have received fast-track treatment, conditional on case characteristics, but did not. The second scheme involved matching fast-track cases to similar, yet ineligible cases, due to the case being in a district that did not authorize fast-track. By having the two separate schemes examined, researchers were able to compare results from the second matching scheme with those from the first, allowing a more informative look at the extent of district-level disparities, and not just fast track to non-fast-track cases nationwide.

Sample:   

The sample for this study comes from Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP) data. The study uses data on 303,300 criminal defendant cases, both fast-track and non-fast-track, in federal districts across the United States from 2006 to 2009.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    The data set includes three analytic weights (ipw_w, ipw_b, and ipw_mx) constructed from propensity score models that can be used to replicate the original analysis.

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts

Data Source:

Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)

United States Sentencing Commission (USSC)

Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC)

Description of Variables:   

This study contains one dataset with 214 variables and 303,300 cases drawn from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP). Data from this program originate from two sources.

  1. Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) which identifies defendants in federal criminal cases terminated in district courts
  2. United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) which collects sentencing information on felony defendants in the federal criminal justice system.

Variables in this study include demographics of the defendant (race, gender, age at sentencing, citizenship status, highest level of education), counsel type, criminal history, number of unique statutes in case, number of dependents the defendant supports, to what level offender accepted responsibility, severity of charges, pretrial detention, and month/year of sentencing. Additionally, there are variables conveying the case court district, type of immigration issue, district case statistics, length of time to trial, jury information, and whether the case was fast-tracked or not. Finally, variables were constructed on the probability of a case being fast tracked, propensity scores, and treatment indicators.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2016-05-26

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