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NCJ Number: NCJ 244498     Find in a Library
Title: Improving Courtroom Communication: A Procedural Justice Experiment in Milwaukee
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Erin J. Farley ; Elise Jensen ; Michael Rempel
Corporate Author: Center for Court Innovation
United States of America
Date Published: 01/2014
Page Count: 88
  Annotation: This evaluation of a pilot project explored defendant perceptions of procedural justice.
Abstract: This document provides an evaluation of a pilot project at the Milwaukee County Criminal Court to enhance defendant perceptions of procedural justice by improving the oral, written, and nonverbal communication used by judges. In court settings, procedural justice concerns the role of fair and respectful procedures and interpersonal treatment in shaping assessments of legal authorities and reactions to specific case outcomes. Among the findings, courtroom observations measured an increase in the use of 14 practices that helped improve communication. Judges became more likely to begin the court session by explaining why cases would be called in a certain order; make eye contact with defendants; use plain English to explain procedures and decisions; ask if defendants or their attorneys had anything to say before the decision; and demonstrate an interest in the defendants understanding of plea agreements. Study findings indicate that the one-day training and subsequent development of judicial action plans can lead to concrete improvements in courtroom communication. The most influential dimensions of procedural justice were found to be voice (perceived ability to convey one's side of the story), respect (perceived respectful treatment), and helpfulness (perceived interest in meeting defendant’s needs). This study confirmed a consistent theme in other recent research that perceptions of the judge play the most critical role in influencing overall defendant impressions of their court experience. Tables, figures, references, and appendixes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Judges ; Court personnel ; Trial procedures ; Role perception ; Criminal procedures ; Communication techniques ; BJA grant-related documents ; Wisconsin
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Sale Source: Center for Court Innovation
520 Eighth Avenue, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10018
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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