Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban and Regional Planning

Major Professor

Dr. Pam Jenkins


The purpose of this research is to understand how Trial Court Judges in state and city courts make decisions in domestic violence cases. The researcher examined the relationship between legal (e.g., evidence) and extra-legal factors (e.g., preconceived biases and behaviors related to judicial decision-making) using a qualitative research design. A case study of multiple locations in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes was used whereby a purposive sample of 17 current civil, municipal, and criminal court judges were interviewed. Judicial decision-making strategies were studied via face-to-face interviews, courtroom observations, and content analysis of courtroom communications (e.g., speech, written text, interviews, images, etc.). The researcher discusses future applications of the study as well as the application of findings to assist in exploring judicial decision-making processes. This qualitative research may be beneficial to policy planners, practitioners, and sociologists in gaining insight into the complexity of the judges’ decision-making processes.


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