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NCJ Number: 66162 Find in a Library
Title: ROUTINE AND DEVIATIONS - THE STRENGTH OF THE COURTROOM WORKGROUP IN A MISDEMEANOR COURT
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LAW  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:47-60
Author(s): M J LIPETZ
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IN RESPONSE TO A STUDY WHICH INDICATED PUBLIC DISSATISFACTION WITH THE COURTS, THIS ESSAY EVALUATES A COURT'S WORKGROUP AND ITS ACHIEVEMENTS.
Abstract: THE RESEARCHER OBSERVED WOMEN'S COURT, ONE OF CHICAGO'S MISDEMEANOR COURTS, OVER A 50-WEEK PERIOD IN 1976 AND 1977. SHE STUDIED THE DAILY ROUTINE AND DEVIATIONS FROM THE ROUTINE OF THE COURT'S WORKGROUP (I.E., PERSONNEL) AND MEASURED THIS AGAINST THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE COURT. DURING THIS PERIOD, THE COURT ACCOMMODATED OVER 12,000 CASES, 75 PERCENT OF WHICH WERE RELATED TO PROSTITUTION. THESE CASES TOOK UP 60 PERCENT OF THE COURT'S TIME. THE WORKGROUP HAD A VESTED INTEREST IN MAINTAINING THEIR PREDICTABLE ROUTINE BECAUSE IT PERMITTED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STRONG RECORD ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL STANDARDS. THE COURT HAD A CLEARANCE RATE OF 80 PERCENT AND PROCESSED A LARGE NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS DAILY. THE JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, POLICE, AND DEFENDANTS WERE ABLE TO MAXIMIZE PERSONAL OR ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS WHILE MINIMIZING UNDESIRABLE OUTCOMES. THE GROUP'S COMMITMENT TO THE ROUTINE WAS SO STRONG THAT ANY ATTEMPTS TO MODIFY THAT ROUTINE FAILED, EVEN IF THE MODIFICATIONS WERE IN RESPONSE TO PUBLIC DEMANDS OR FACILITATED THE DISPENSING OF JUSTICE. THE INFORMAL NORMS AND THE ABILITY OF THE WORKGROUP TO RESIST PERSONNEL CHANGES, ASSERTION OF SELF ABOVE THE NORMS, AND POLICY CHANGES ALLOWED THE COURT TO BUILD A STRONG RECORD AND TO PROCEED IN AN EFFICIENT, PREDICTABLE, AND ROUTINE MANNER WHILE DOING ITS WORK. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (JLF)
Index Term(s): Court case flow management; Court personnel; Illinois; Studies
Note: SIMILAR VERSION OF THIS PAPER WAS PRESENTED AT THE 1978 MEETING OF THE LAW AND SOCIETY ASSOCIATION
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66162

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