Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Laura Moriarty


Abstract EXAMINING CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSIONALS’ ATTITUDES AND RESPONSIVENESS TOWARDS INTIMIDATED WITNESSES ON THE LOCAL LEVEL: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS By Michon J. Moon, Ph.D. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2011 Major Director: Laura J. Moriarty, Ph. D, Professor and Vice Provost of Academic and Faculty Affairs L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs The study explored criminal justice professionals’ attitudes and responsiveness toward witness intimidation on the local level based on their occupation and region of employment. Intimidated witnesses are vulnerable individuals that have fallen victim to competing social and civic expectations to which neither allow much consideration for the witness’ safety. This problem is evident in that too many local criminal justice agencies have yet to formulate substantive plans and dedicated sufficient resources to effectively address the growing problem of witness intimidation. A total of 59 major crime detectives, 52 prosecutors and 5 executive administrators from two regions of Virginia participated in the study. Major crime detectives and prosecutors were administered an online survey to gage their attitudes about intimidated witness issues and the administrators who are responsible for the allocation of resources and policy mandates for their respective agencies participated in interviews. Overall, 39 percent of prosecutors and 45 percent of detectives indicated that intimidation was more likely to occur in cases involving homicide, rape, aggravated assault, drug activity, gang activity, robbery, and domestic violence. On average 38 percent of detectives and 31 percent of prosecutors agreed that relocation assistance was warranted in circumstances such as, perceived threats, threatening calls, assault on witness, assault of family member, drive-by shootings, vandalism, stalking, domestic violence. Conversely, on average only 18 percent of prosecutors and 22 percent of detectives indicated that their agencies’ would more than likely provide relocation assistance to intimidated witnesses in these same cases. Appended are details of study, methodology, quantitative and qualitative analyses, as well as, demographic characteristics of study participants.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011