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Wobblers & Criminal Justice in California: A Study Into Prosecutorial Discretion

Megan Berwick
Rachel Lindenberg
Julia Van Roo
National Center for State Courts

Executive Summary

This report focuses on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion under Cal. Penal Code §17(b)(4), including which factors contribute to charging variation among counties, and the
contextual implications of this variation on state policy in terms of criminal justice goals. Specifically, this report will 1) identify and define common wobbler offenses; 2) analyze data on
charges in California counties; 3) identify any significant variation across counties in the charges filed; 4) use both qualitative and quantitative analysis to discover which system level factors contribute to this variation; and 5) recommend appropriate policy options. ...

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