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Perceptions and Perspectives Regarding Procedural Fairness in Louisiana Trial Courts
AuthorJohnson, Donald R.
AdvisorMarsh, Shawn C.
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Procedural fairness is a helpful or effective communication process that can be used to achieve successful outcome effects from trial judges’ courtroom realistic bench adjudication abilities. This dissertation provides the history of procedural fairness, scientific support for its existence, its evidence-informed basis of its effectiveness, and its status in the fields of social sciences and law. It also examines the scope of courtroom implementation in Louisiana since the CCJ/COSCA nationally adopted Resolution 12. Judges completed a survey, which provided insight of their perspectives regarding procedural fairness, as well as their incorporation of the principles of procedural fairness in their courtrooms. Data provided by a trained court observer was collected in order to assess select state and local trial court judges’ behaviors and whether or not they adjudicated in open court through the principles of procedural fairness. Primary data collection for judges and court observations occurred through an expertly developed instrument—Measuring Perceptions of Fairness: An Evaluation Toolkit. Though defendants were given the Defendant Exit Survey, no defendants participated in the study. When used correctly this toolkit gives judges a way to monitor, assess, and improve their bench adjudicating techniques and gives court attendees’ the ability to evaluate their perceptions of the judge. The research concluded that Louisiana state and local trial court judges (a) understand procedural fairness, (b) believe that procedural fairness is important, (c) do not incorporate procedural fairness systematically, and (d) judges have significant differences in how important they believe procedural fairness is, based on their religious attitudes.