Effects of Selection Processes and Private Information on Criminal Antitrust Case Outcomes
Sapper, David Buford
A criminal case is disposed by a series of selection processes – the prosecutor’s indictment, the defendant’s plea choice, and the judge’s or jury’s trial verdict. This study examines how each selection process shapes the mixes of characteristics of cases that proceed to subsequent stages of case disposition, thereby influencing plea choices, trial outcomes, and sentencing decisions. This study also examines how the information structure of plea bargaining affects defendants’ plea choices. This study’s empirical tests use defendant- and case-level data regarding federal criminal antitrust cases initiated from 1956 through 1979. They support predictions regarding how indictment decisions, plea choices, and trial verdicts shape mixes of case characteristics and ultimately influence case outcomes. They also suggest the existence of private information during plea negotiations, but do not clearly identify the party possessing private information.