Title

Perceptions and plea bargaining in Mississippi

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Stephen Mallory

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that shape the understanding of the plea bargaining process in Mississippi. There are a minimum of 22 variations on this process in Mississippi. Exploratory Factor Analysis and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to produce relevant findings on the perceptions of plea bargaining in Mississippi. A group of 384 subjects provided significant findings in each of the four factors scores relating to the perceptions of plea bargaining in Mississippi. The areas of focus were the efficiency and fairness of plea bargaining, the acceptability of plea bargaining, the understanding of plea bargaining within criminal procedure, and the support of prosecutorial discretion in plea bargaining. Race and occupation are very substantive components that shape the perceptions held by citizens of Mississippi. Racial differences existed under each factor. Civilians are less supportive of the perceived efficiency of plea bargaining. Civilians showed less support for the acceptability of plea bargaining. Civilian respondents indicated a lower level of understanding of plea bargaining within criminal procedure than defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges. Prosecutors and judges showed no difference in their perceptions of understanding of plea bargaining. Finally, civilian respondents and judges and prosecutors indicated higher support for prosecutorial discretion than defense attorneys.