Academic journal article Justice System Journal

Case Characteristics and Defendant Tenant Default in a Housing Court

Academic journal article Justice System Journal

Case Characteristics and Defendant Tenant Default in a Housing Court

Article excerpt

Erik Larson, "Case Characteristics and Defendant Tenant Default in a Housing Court," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 3 (March 2006): 121-44.

Although many people tend to think of an adversarial legal system as resulting in completed jury trials, the absence of jury trials and of trials of whatever sort (bench or jury) is an important aspect of the picture of court activity. One reason for the relative absence of trials is that many defendants, particularly in certain types of cases, default. Contributing some important findings to our hitherto sketchy picture of default judgments, as well as to our knowledge of the operation of "problem-solving" courts, Larson has examined factors affecting default judgments in cases brought by landlords in a housing court in Hennepin County, Minnesota (Minneapolis and environs).

In this examination, Larson drew on the literature of political participation to enrich his study, thus going beyond the basic characteristics of defendants usually used in studies of their actions. Thus, Larson includes factors thought to be related to feelings of efficacy (which would encourage proceeding with a case rather than defaulting) and social-psychological factors related to risks a defendant would have in "presentation of self" in court. …

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