Contextualizing the Law: Sentencing Decisions of Sexual Assault Cases of Dallas County, 1999-2005

Contextualizing the Law: Sentencing Decisions of Sexual Assault Cases of Dallas County, 1999-2005

Date: December 2006
Creator: Greening, Megan
Description: The incidence of sexual assault inundates the courts with many cases each year. Given the unique nature of the crime, judges and juries are faced with an array of different scenarios to which they are required to make fair, justifiable and consistent decisions. I examine child sexual assault cases of Dallas County 1999-2005, I look at both legal and extralegal factors including case characteristics, institutional characteristics and characteristics of the defendants and the victims. First, I examine the impact of the independent variables on sentence length using regression analysis to determine influences on sentencing for judges and juries. Second, I examine the same factors using Probit analysis to determine which characteristics make a life sentence more probable for those decision-makers.
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Solicitor Success: The Continuing Exploration of the Determinants of Governmental Success at the Supreme Court, 1986-2005

Solicitor Success: The Continuing Exploration of the Determinants of Governmental Success at the Supreme Court, 1986-2005

Date: August 2007
Creator: Grubbs, Kevin
Description: Studies of the Supreme Court consistently show that the Office of the Solicitor General enjoys remarkable success before the Supreme Court, both at the certiorari stage and at the merits stage. These studies offer a variety of explanations for Solicitor General success, but fail to portray accurately the Office of the Solicitor General and to account for variations in governmental success. This paper seeks to continue the exploration of governmental success. By looking at the Office of the Solicitor General as a series of individuals with distinct characteristics rather than as a single entity, and by accounting for various situational dynamics, I attempt to explain the variations in executive success.
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Judicial Enforcers? Exploring Lower Federal Court Compliance in Regulating the Obscene

Judicial Enforcers? Exploring Lower Federal Court Compliance in Regulating the Obscene

Date: May 2004
Creator: Ryan, John Francis
Description: Although federal circuit and district court judges are placed within a federal hierarchy, and receive legal and judicial training that emphasizes the importance of the judicial framework and its structure, such judges are also subjected to other pressures such as the types of litigants within the courtrooms as well as their local political environment. Furthermore, such judges are apt to form their own views about politics and legal policy and are often appointed by presidents who approve of their ideological leanings. Thus, federal courts are caught between competing goals such as their willingness to maximize their preferred legal policy, and their place within the judicial hierarchy. This dissertation applies hierarchy and impact theory to assess the importance of the judicial framework and its socialization, by analyzing both the judicial opinions and votes of federal circuit and district court judges in obscenity cases during a four-decade period (1957-1998). The research presented here finds the influence of higher court precedent to correspond in part with the conception of a judicial hierarchy. An analysis of citations of Supreme Court precedent (Roth v. United States (1957) and Miller v. California (1973)) in lower court majority opinions suggests low levels of compliance: lower courts at ...
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Strategic Factors Influencing the Issuance and Duration of Executive Orders

Strategic Factors Influencing the Issuance and Duration of Executive Orders

Date: August 2008
Creator: Steele, Galen
Description: Executive orders are a significant source of presidential power although scholars disagree on the nature of that power. It has been argued that executive orders are an indication of a president's failure to persuade others to act as he desires; others contend that executive orders offer "power without persuasion." This dissertation introduces the conditional model of executive order issuance and duration in order to offer a synthesis to these competing views, and to offer a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints faced by the president when choosing to act unilaterally through executive orders. The conditional theory holds that both the issuance and duration of executive orders is a function of the president's ideological proximity to Congress and the Supreme Court, and the availability of fresh policy space.
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Appellate Recruitment Patterns in the Higher British Judiciary: 1850 - 1990

Appellate Recruitment Patterns in the Higher British Judiciary: 1850 - 1990

Date: December 2004
Creator: Thomas, Bruce K.
Description: This study seeks to advance the understanding of appellate promotion in the senior judiciary of Great Britain . It describes the population and attributes of judges who served in the British High Courts, Court of Appeal, and Appellate Committee of the House of Lords (i.e., Law Lords) from 1850 to 1990. It specifically builds upon the work of C. Neal Tate and tests his model of appellate recruitment on a larger and augmented database. The study determines that family status, previously asserted as having a large effect on recruitment to the appellate courts, is not as important as previously believed. It concludes that merit effects, professional norms, and institutional constraints offer equally satisfactory or better explanations of appellate recruitment patterns.
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Politics and the American clergy: Sincere shepherds or strategic saints?

Politics and the American clergy: Sincere shepherds or strategic saints?

Date: August 2007
Creator: Calfano, Brian Robert
Description: Scholars have evaluated the causes of clergy political preferences and behavior for decades. As with party ID in the study of mass behavior, personal ideological preferences have been the relevant clergy literature's dominant behavioral predictor. Yet to the extent that clergy operate in bounded and specialized institutions, it is possible that much of the clergy political puzzle can be more effectively solved by recognizing these elites as institutionally-situated actors, with their preferences and behaviors influenced by the institutional groups with which they interact. I argue that institutional reference groups help to determine clergy political preferences and behavior. Drawing on three theories derived from neo-institutionalism, I assess reference group influence on clergy in two mainline Protestant denominations-the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church, USA. In addition to their wider and more traditional socializing influence, reference groups in close proximity to clergy induce them to behave strategically-in ways that are contrary to their sincerely held political preferences. These proximate reference groups comprise mainly parishioners, suggesting that clergy political behavior, which is often believed to affect laity political engagement, may be predicated on clergy anticipation of potentially unfavorable reactions from their followers. The results show a set of political elites (the clergy) ...
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