Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Mary Clement


Research into indigent defense issues has shown that the growth in the use of public defenders has been accompanied by increased bureaucratization and has paralleled the expansion of the right to counsel and the "due process revolution." The goal of this research is the development and testing of a model of organization adaptation which explains for public defender offices in Virginia the evolution of multiple and contradictory organizational goals, the means by which they balance conflicting values and goals, and the effect of resulting decision making processes on organizational output. The basic research question addressed is the relationship between values, goals, and organizational processes. Due process goals protect the organizations' ideologically based "core technology." Production goals allow organizations to adapt to the environment through emphasis on caseloads and efficiency. The possibility that over time normative goals are eclipsed by production goals as the demands of rising caseload increase with an increase in the routinization of decision making processes is also explored. The results on organizational output of the contradiction between due process and production values and goals are examined. Data were collected through a survey of public defenders in Virginia in 1992 (N=118 with a response rate of 73%). Caseload data were also collected. Analysis of the data revealed that due process values and goals are particularly strong throughout the Virginia system. Production values and goals, while not as strong as due process ones, were also important. The oldest offices showed stronger production values and goals even while due process values and goals remained relatively constant. Higher workload pressures were also found in offices where production values were strongest. Stronger production values and goals were associated with more routinized decision making in the forms of increased pressure to plea bargain and more frequent accepting of routine offers of prosecutors; there were also higher caseloads and lower rates of increase in several measures of costs in offices with stronger production values and goals. Higher due process values and goals were associated with increased trial rates and longer case processing times.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission