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Publication Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 1992

July 1, 1995    NCJ 155180

An estimated 55,513 felony cases were filed in State courts of 75 large counties during May 1992. About 25 percent of felony defendants were charged with a violent offense, usually assault or robbery. Murder and rape defendants accounted for a small percentage of defendants. The remaining 75 percent of defendants were charged with a nonviolent felony. Most felony defendants charged as adults were males under 30 years of age. About 3 in 8 defendants had an active criminal justice status at the time of the current offense, including 17 percent who were on probation, 12 percent who were pretrial release, and 8 percent who were on parole. Two-thirds of all defendants had been arrested previously, and 36 percent had at least five prior arrest charges. Just over a third of all felony defendants were detained until their cases reached final disposition. About two-thirds of defendants already on parole were detained during the current case. About 75 percent of defendants charged with murder were held until disposition, as were about half of defendants charged with rape, robbery, or burglary. Among those released prior to case disposition, about 25 percent failed to appear in court as scheduled. Nearly all defendants (90 percent) had their cases adjudicated within 1 year of arrest, and two-thirds of adjudicated cases ended with a conviction. Overall, 71 percent of defendants whose most serious conviction charge was a felony were sentenced to incarceration. Nearly all the remaining convicted defendants received a probation sentence. Prison sentences were longest for those convicted of a violent felony. 2 figures


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