Current Issue

Volume 75, Number 4

October 2000

Prosecutorial Discretion and Prosecution Guidelines: A Case Study in Controlling Federalization

Michael A. Simons

In this Article Michael Simons examines the ways in which the federalization of crime can be controlled. Simons argues that prosecutorial discretion is the most important variable in the federalization process and that controlling prosecutorial discretion is the key to controlling federalization. He presents the Child Support Recovery Act as a model for how prosecution guidelines for federal criminal statutes can provide such control Federalization of criminal child support enforcement has been successful because federal prosecutors have exercised discretion in a manner consistent with the concerns expressed by the bench and the academy about federalization. Simons concludes by exploring how such guidelines would prevent the implementation of other criminal statutes from usurping state authority, overwhelming the federal courts, and treating individual defendants unfairly.