skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 136339 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: In the Eye of the Beholder: The Relationship Between the Public and the Courts
Journal: Justice System Journal  Volume:15  Issue:2  Dated:special issue (1991)  Pages:722-740
Author(s): F K Zemans
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This examination of the relationship between the courts and the American public places the courts in a wider conceptual framework that articulates the relationship between the citizenry and the institutions of government.
Abstract: The public and the courts see each other quite differently, and both seem to lack understanding of the other. Courts are distinctive among the branches of government in the extent to which they are dependent on others for setting their agenda. However, courts are expected to continue their normal operations to satisfy public demands while still handling the sharp growth in drug-related cases. In addition, public debates of issues like the exclusionary rule and judicial salaries are conducted largely in a substantive vacuum, overlooking the role of the adversary system. Moreover, surveys have repeatedly revealed public ignorance about major aspects of the courts. Furthermore, media coverage through both entertainment and news coverage regularly expose the public to misrepresentation of the judicial process. Personal experiences also shape attitudes toward courts. To address these problems, court personnel must receive appropriate training and incentives regarding interacting with the public with respect. In addition, increased court interaction with the media, simplifying the language used, and many other measures would improve public attitudes toward the courts. Figure and 26 references
Main Term(s): Public Opinion of the Courts
Index Term(s): Court personnel attitudes; Media coverage
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.