Another recent BJS report, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2004, analyzes data collected from a representative sample of felony cases filed in the nation's 75 largest counties during May 2004. Murder cases were tracked for up to 2 years and all other cases for 1 year to provide an overview of the processing of felony defendants from case filing to disposition and sentencing. Data highlight the demographic characteristics of felony defendants and types of arrest charges. The report also includes in-depth information on the criminal record of felony defendants, including criminal justice status at the time of arrest and the number and type of prior arrests and convictions. It describes conditions of pretrial release (bail amounts, type of release bonds, and pretrial misconduct), adjudication outcomes (dismissal, diversion, guilty plea, trial conviction rates), and sentencing data for convicted felony defendants. Notable findings include:
- Two-thirds of felony defendants were charged with a drug or property offense.
- More than three-fourths of felony defendants had a prior arrest history, with 53% having at least five prior arrest charges.
- Fifty-seven percent of felony defendants received a pretrial release prior to adjudication.