Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Dr. Alan Thompson

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. David Cullier

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 4

Dr. W. Wes Johnson

Committee Member 4 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 5

Dr. Lisa Nored

Committee Member 5 Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

This study examines judicial attitudes regarding nationally nationally nationally nationally nationally-accepted traaccepted traaccepted traaccepted traaccepted tra accepted transparency nsparency nsparency nsparency nsparency nsparency guidelines, “practical obscurity” (Weitzner, 2006, p. 1) issues, and court records transparency (CRT). The study tests (a) for measurement invariance in judges’ and citizens’ attitudes regarding selected aspects of CRT, (b) a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of a structural equation model (SEM) regarding CRT, (c) several hierarchical ordinary least squares (OLS) regression CRT models, (d) plausible correlates and scales for predicting judicial attitudes regarding CRT, (e) for improvement in the reliability coefficient of a Government Records Transparency (GRT) subscale, and (f) the extent judicial CRT attitudes differ based on mixed-mode data collection methods.

The study also introduces new CRT mediation models and creates a judicial database for future research regarding the three varieties of CRT’s focal scale criterions—Support for, Support for Press, and Demand for, Transparency.

stratified probability based sample of 3,000 state trial-level judges selected from a national population of 10,173 identified through The American Bench: Judges of the Nation (2012) voluntarily participated in a self-administered postal and Web mail survey. The findings show judges strongly support CRT reforms and confirm judicial support, support for press, and demand for CRT are conceptually related attitudes.

Political and judicial attitudes account for judicial support for CRT, such that the strongest predictors of support for CRT are attitudes regarding concern for government secrecy, perceived access to government, method of selection of judges, doing justice, and perceived judicial role regardless of demographic, political, or other contextual variables.

Additionally, the findings show judicial support for press CRT is also a shared political and judicial attitude, such that the strongest predictors for press access are attitudes regarding press rights, perceived access to government, judicial goal orientation, and income regardless of demographic or other political and contextual variables.

Likewise, the findings indicate that judicial demand for CRT is a shared political and judicial attitude, such that the strongest predictors of demand for CRT are attitudes regarding concern for government secrecy, press rights, perceived access to government, court role orientation, selection of judges, judicial goal orientation, content of legal policy, perceived judicial role, and doing justice regardless of demographic or other political and contextual variables.

The study’s implications are discussed, including explanations for future direction. The findings provided insights for helping jurists and other stakeholders understand judicial views regarding CRT.

Available for download on Saturday, February 08, 2116

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