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January 18, 2018

"Rate My District Attorney: Toward a Scorecard for Prosecutors’ Offices"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new report recently released by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center and authored by Katherine Moy, Dennis Martin, and David Alan Sklansky. Here is its executive summary:

Local prosecutor elections can have uniquely consequential results for the American criminal justice system. Paradoxically, however, these elections attract much less voter engagement than other races, and incumbents are repeatedly re-elected.  As a result, activists seeking to convince prosecutors to pursue reforms, or to elect new reform-minded prosecutors, have a hard time communicating just how well a given office is performing.

A prosecutorial rating system is one approach to remedying this information gap. Much like indices used in other public policy areas, such a rating system could be a critical way of communicating to voters and potential electoral challengers whether a prosecutors’ office has effectively pursued the electorate’s policy priorities.

This report begins to chart a path toward building such a rating system.  Drawing on the expertise of experienced public policy index developers, the report outlines a procedure that developers can follow to design and build their own scorecard.  The process described in the report involves several stages, during which developers will need to grapple with key policy and logistical issues.

Although the contours of the process are flexible, the report lays out the following steps to developing a prosecutorial rating system:

1) Gather key personnel and experts and set project benchmarks.

2) Define the index’s goals and target audience, including any intermediaries that might be enlisted to convey the index’s message.

3) Select the variables the index will use to measure performance and decide how much weight to attribute to each variable.

4) Gather data for each variable, including any proxy measurements to use where direct data is unavailable.

5) Aggregate and normalize the data in a coherent, rigorous, digestible format.

6) Disseminate and build support for the index.

Each of these stages involves complex decisions, many of which may need to be revisited throughout the development process. But walking through each of the stages methodically can help highlight areas of dispute and place in a broader procedural context.  By keeping the index’s overall goals in mind as they work through the minute details of each stage, developers are more likely to be able to create a successful index to help meet their reform objectives. 

January 18, 2018 at 05:18 PM | Permalink


This piece of filth prosecutor traitor must be run out of town. You lawyers are all dirty traitors to our country. Your 25000 strong hierarchy must be arrested, given an hour's fair trial, and shot in the court basement upon reading of the verdict. Your profession is morally disgusting.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 21, 2018 3:22:02 AM

Here is a brief review of productivity.


We have 15 million common law crimes and 15 million internet crime. We have 2 million prosecutions. Not productive.

For $1, the Chinese carfentanyl will prevent 200 crimes a year for the remaining theoretical lifespan. It also lowers the fecundity of the person, and prevents 200 crimes a year by the spawn who were not born. Productive.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 21, 2018 10:14:12 AM

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