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Assessing Local Legal Culture: Practitioner Norms in Four Criminal Courts, 1979

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Church, Thomas W. Jr.
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Free Keywords
attorneys; court cases; courts; courtroom proceedings; disposition (legal); judges; legal systems; sentencing
  • Abstract

    This study attempts to operationalize the concept of local legal culture by examining differences in the processing of twelve hypothetical criminal cases in four criminal courts. Questionnaires asking how these hypothetical cases should best be handled were administered to judges, district attorneys, and defense attorneys in four cities: Bronx County (New York City), New York, Detroit, Michigan, Miami, Florida, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In each city, the presiding judge, prosecutor, and head of the public defender's office were informed of the project. Questionnaires were distributed to prosecuting attorneys and public defenders by their supervisors. Judges were contacted in person or given questionnaires with a cover letter from the presiding judge. All questionnaires were completed anonymously and returned separately by respondents. The variables include number of years the respondent had been in the criminal justice system, preferred mode of disposition and of sentencing for each of the twelve cases, and the respondents' predictions of the probability of conviction in each case.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Standardized missing values.; Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1979
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Judges, district attorneys, and defense attorneys in four cities in the United States.
Systematic samples of lawyers and judges were drawn from the four cities studied.
2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.1997-02-13 SAS and SPSS data definition statements are now available for this collection. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (78-MU-AX-0023).
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7808 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Church, Thomas W., Jr.. Examining local legal culture. American Bar Foundation Research Journal.(3), 449-518.1985.
  • Church, Thomas W., Jr.. Examining Local Legal Culture Practioner Attitudes in Four Criminal Courts. NCJ 84047, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. 1982.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Church, T.W., Jr.. Who Sets the Pace of Litigation in Urban Trial Courts. Judicature.65, 76-85.1981.
  • Sipes, L.L., Carlson, A.M., Tan, T., Aikman, A.B., Page, R.W.. Managing to Reduce Delay. NCJ 71067, Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. 1980.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Church, Thomas W. Jr. (1984): Assessing Local Legal Culture: Practitioner Norms in Four Criminal Courts, 1979. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.