The federal/state criminal prosecution nexus: A case study in cooperation and discretion

Lisa L. Miller, James Eisenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Contemporary studies of prosecutorial decision making at the state level are infrequent, and even fewer studies examine the discretionary decisions of federal prosecutors. In addition, virtually no scholarly literature examines the growing overlap between federal and state criminal jurisdiction. This paper advances both theoretical and empirical understandings of the organizational and political contexts in which prosecutorial discretion takes place by exploring the nexus between federal and state criminal jurisdictions. Drawing on interview research in a large urban area with several active federal/state cooperative prosecution programs, we suggest that these cooperative relations open new avenues of discretion for local and federal prosecutors; limit the authority of other court actors, including state judges; and erode the distinctions between federal and local criminal jurisdiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-268
Number of pages30
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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