Honors Theses


Arthur Jipson, Ph.D.


Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis


This thesis attempts to uncover whether or not differences in unclassified felony and first-degree felony case outcomes arise as a result of the type of counsel representing the defendant. The types of defense counsel addressed in this project include public defenders, appointed counsel, and private counsel. This research project specifically focuses on Butler, Greene, and Montgomery Counties in Ohio, in order to cultivate large enough samples for statistical testing. The felony cases that were examined include aggravated murder, murder, rape, voluntary manslaughter, and kidnapping. Existing research (Cohen, 2014; Levine, 1975; Hartley, Miller, and Spohn, 2010; and Williams, 2002) largely shows that public defenders perform better than appointed counsel, and roughly equal to private counsel. In order to discover whether or not discrepancies between the three categories of defense counsel exist in southwestern Ohio, county-level crime and court data encompassing type of counsel, charge(s) filed, and conviction and post-conviction outcomes including guilty pleas, convictions, incarceration, and sentence lengths will be analyzed. The results of this analysis show that statistically significant differences in outcomes between appointed counsel and private counsel occur for conviction and incarceration. No significant differences occurred for guilty pleas or sentence length. Additionally, public defenders were not associated with statistically better or worse outcomes than either of the other types of counsel.

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Undergraduate research


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Legal Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences