Public Opinion

Public Opinion

Adherence to procedural fairness principles can have perhaps the greatest impact on the perceptions of offenders, the community, and those who come into contact with the justice system.The articles below focus on how and whether procedural fairness affects public opinion.

Thinking About Judges and Judicial Performance: Perspective of the Public and Court Users 
David Rottman and Tom Tyler, Onati Socio-Legal Series 4(5) (2014)
This article "describes and critiques existing judicial performance evaluation programs that incorporate procedural justice principles as a dimension for measuring quality through both survey and observational methods."

The Perceptions of Self-Represented Tenants in a Community-Based Housing Court
Rashid Abuwala and Donald Farole Court Review 44 (2007)
This article discusses a survey of participants' perceptions of the community-based Harlem Housing Court. Perceived fairness of court procedures was an important factor in overall satisfaction in the vast majority of cases.

The Role of Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in Shaping Public Support for Policing
Jason Sunshine and Tom Tyler (2006)
This study explores the relative importance of police legitimacy in shaping public support of the police and policing activities and which judgments about police activity determine people's views about the legitimacy of the police. By looking at two surveys of New Yorkers, the study determines that procedural fairness is key to both white and minority group residents in creating legitimacy and that legitimacy has a strong influence on the public's perceptions of the police.

Perceptions of the Courts in Your Community: The Influence of Experience, Race, and Ethinicity
Rottman, et al., Nat'l Ctr for State Courts (2003)
This study's major focus was: (1) What differences exist in how African-Americans, Latinos, and Whites view the state courts?; and (2) What influence does recent and direct court experience have on opinions about the state courts? The survey is unusual in that it included an oversample of individuals who had recent experience with the state courts. It found that procedural justice considerations were more important than demographic factors in explaining perceptions of state courts. Procedural fairness effects were more pronounced among court users than the general public, perceptions of procedural fairness differed significantly between whites and African Americans, and concerns about the speed and cost of court proceedings also made a difference.

The Perceptions of the Courts in Your Community
Rottman and Hansen, Nat'l Ctr for State Courts (2000)
This survey asked detailed questions of randomly selected individuals in an attempt to measure the public's reaction to the changing roles of judges and the courts exemplified by drug treatment and other problem-solving courts. The questions were aimed at specific elements of fairness and attempted to provide a more refined portrait of public opinion about the fairness of judges and courts.