Domestic Violence Investigations: Do Better Investigations Equal More Punitive Results. A Replication and Comparative Analysis of Smith and Harrison Counties, Texas

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Don Cabana

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice


Domestic violence has been a hidden epidemic within the United States since the early years of our country. It has only been a couple of decades that law enforcement authorities and the legislatures of both the federal government and the various state governments have begun to come to a better awareness of this closed door issue. These authorities have begun to understand that the issue of domestic violence is one that affects not only the individuals and families involved, but also the communities in which they reside and work. Even though there appears to be substantial attention given to the treatment of domestic violence crimes, empirical study concerning the correlation between the investigation of domestic violence cases and the subsequent outcomes in the courtroom is rather sparse. This study utilizes quantitative data collected during a previous review of Smith County, Texas law enforcement agencies and then replicates the previous inquiry using data gathered from another jurisdiction. Additionally, this dissertation conducts a comparative analysis of that original data with empirical data collected from Harrison County, Texas, a jurisdiction smaller and more rural in nature to Smith County, Texas.