The ultimate goal of this study was to provide state and federal prosecutors with empirical information that can assist in the effective prosecution of terrorism cases. In order to accomplish this goal, three objectives were met: (1) assess the relationship between prosecutorial and defense strategies and case outcomes in terrorism trials; (2) provide an overview of changes in terrorism cases since the September 11, 2001, attacks so as to answer the question, "How has 9/11 impacted the ways the federal government responds to terrorism?"; and (3) add variables to the American Terrorism Study (ATS) database so as to include information on prosecutorial and defense strategies for terrorism cases for the period 1980-2004.
This research project involved an examination of federal criminal court cases (1980-2004) that were filed after defendants were referred to United States Attorneys by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following an official terrorism investigation. The study focused on the courtroom processes and legal strategies that were used by federal prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys from the moment of indictment until the case reached final disposition. Specifically, the AMERICAN TERRORISM STUDY, 1980-2002 (ICPSR 4639) was supplemented with data from the Prosecution and Defense Strategies database (PADS). Because the PADS database uses the same cases at the ATS, the demographic information is the same. More than 160 additional variables that measure trial specific data were created and coded. The PADS data contain variables that measure legal nuances as well as the strategies used by legal counsel.
This research project involved an examination of federal criminal court cases (1980 - 2004) that were filed after defendants were referred to United States Attorneys by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following an official terrorism investigation. The research team attempted to collect data on the entire population of terrorism cases from 1980-2004. Due to inaccessibility of some cases, the sample includes approximately 90 percent of the population of officially designated federal terrorism cases during this time. This resulted in the collection of data on 9,598 criminal violations.
Indictments from federal "domestic security/terrorism investigations" in the United States from 1980 to 2004.
Count for each indictee in each indictment
The AMERICAN TERRORISM STUDY, 1980-2002 (ICPSR 4639), which was expanded to include data for the period 1980-2004.
United States District Court case records from 1980 through 2004.
Information from other open sources, such as newspaper accounts of the trials.
administrative records data
The dataset contains a total of 240 variables. It incorporates 78 variables from the 1980-2004 American Terrorism Study (ATS) database (available as ICPSR 4639), and these variables can be divided into four major categories: (1) demographic information such as the age, race, and sex of the defendant, (2) information about the terrorist group to which the individual belongs including types of preferred and actual targets of the group, (3) prosecution and defense data, which includes identification of the charges, method of prosecution, and other variables reflecting defense strategies such as types of motions filed, and (4) count/case outcome and sentencing data for each defendant.
The Prosecution and Defense Strategies database (PADS) adds 162 variables that track information about the type of defense attorney used as well as important pleadings, motions, and other key events that occur in federal terrorism trials. This collection of data also includes variables that measure whether the defendant received bail, and if not, the reason bail was denied. It contains one set of variables to track whether a superseding indictment was filed in each case, and another set of variables to track the number of counts added or dropped from the original indictment. These counts are coded by statute number and by United States Code Chapter. Other variables track defense challenges to FISA, motions to suppress physical evidence, motions to suppress electronic surveillance, motions to sever counts, motions to suppress statements, and an entire range of pro se motions. In addition, the PADS data include variables to track prosecution motions and outcomes (e.g., whether CIPA protection was sought, motions to exclude defense evidence, challenges to defense strategies, etc.).