"The question in the title of this post is prompted by this fascinating article from the Denver Post headlined "DA Chambers offers bonuses for prosecutors who hit conviction targets." Here are the details:
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers has created an unusual incentive for her felony prosecutors, paying them bonuses if they achieve a predetermined standard for conviction rates at trial. The threshold for an assistant district attorney to earn the average $1,100 reward: Participate in at least five trials during the year, with 70 percent of them ending in a felony conviction. Plea bargains or mistrials don't count.
Chambers, whose office handles prosecutions in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, said she set up the standard to encourage her team to meet minimum requirements in line with statistics in comparable jurisdictions. The bonus pool, which comes from an office surplus, and the use of standards to determine who gets part of it are similar to incentive compensation used in private industries.
"It is hard to find performance standards by which to measure trial attorneys," Chambers wrote in response to questions submitted by e-mail. "This is the standard I think best meets the need to have a performance standard that attorneys know and can be aware of and that does not in any way encourage any outcome in any specific case."
But other Colorado district attorneys say they neither typically award bonuses nor tie performance evaluations to a conviction goal. . . " Read More