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NCJ Number: 77380 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Misdemeanor Courts - A Review of the Literature and Recent Case Law (From Misdemeanor Courts - Policy Concerns and Research Perspectives, P 1-28, 1980, James J Alfini, ed. - See NCJ-77379)
Author(s): J J Alfini
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Through a literature review and an analysis of recent case law, this article assesses current knowledge about misdemeanor courts and offers suggestions for future research.
Abstract: Writings are reviewed under the categories of (1) those advocating structural and administration reforms aimed at improving the image of misdemeanor courts and making their operations more efficient and (2) commentary advocating procedural reforms intended to enhance the defendant's substantive rights. The study reveals that important policy choices and recommendations regarding misdemeanor courts have been made without a clear sense of the operations of these courts and the possible policy consequences. More knowledge is needed about the nature and scope of court outcomes; process costs; and whether structural, administrative, and procedural differences influence process and outcome differences. Gallas (1979) points to a virtual absence of empirical research that ties recommended changes in court structure and administration to specified policy outcomes. Future research must begin with the recognition of the diversity of misdemeanor courts and by analyzing structural, administrative, and procedural differences through comparative studies that focus on substantive outcomes and process costs. While there are those who argue that there is no guarantee that empirical findings will be incorporated into the decisionmaking data of policymakers, the current absence of knowledge does not even admit the possibility of rational policymaking. A total of 74 references are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Court management; Judicial decisions; Legal research; Literature reviews; Misdemeanor
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