Some Factors Influencing the Outcome of Felony Appeals in Missouri


Recently I completed a study of all of the felony appeals decided by the Missouri Supreme Court during the two year period ending March 1, 1964. Its purpose was to test the accuracy of the United States Supreme Court's assumption that the absence of a lawyer makes a “meaningless ritual” of a felony appeal. That investigation uncovered other factors, notably prior convictions, which seemed to influence the outcome of appeals. But since they were unrelated to lawyer involvement they were not discussed. This note presents the material omitted from the first study. Its purpose, however, is not to venture conclusions. The mere coincidence of two events does not prove a causal relationship between them. So, for example, the fact that affirmance rates vary directly with prior convictions does not prove that past records cause appeals to be affirmed. But it does suggest that an investigation into such a possibility might prove fruitful. The purpose of this Article, then, is to offer a few suggestions for future research.


Appellate procedure, Criminal statistics



Jules B. Gerard (Washington University School of Law)



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