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In this module, Dr. Read Montague, an American neuroscientist, popular science author, and professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, describes how researchers are studying structure and connectivity in the human brain, what the data may tell us about criminal responsibility, and the impact that this research may have on the courts. He addresses the following questions:

  • What can neuroimaging tell us about capacity? To what extent can the data provide insight about an individual in specific circumstances versus general information about brain function?
  • Can scientists use neuroimaging data to provide evidence related to capacity or intent?
  • What does recent research show regarding legally defined mental states and their representation in distinct brain regions?
  • What sort of large-scale guidance can the data provide?

Objectives:

  • to broadly understand the approaches researchers are using to shed light on capacity and criminal responsibility
  • to appreciate the scope of what these data can contribute to legal policy

To learn more about Dr. Montague, click here.

Additional Resources:

Available Online Only
In Print: Available for Distribution

A research guide on how to do social science research, how to avoid the common pitfalls of analyzing data in a policy-charged environment, and how to work with social scientists who might provide assistance to courts. Although its emphasis is studying the role of gender, the guide will be helpful to those seeking a general introduction to social science methods used in related inquiries.

Available Online Only

A "how-to" manual based on the experience of the Research Division staff to help in anticipating the steps involved and to plan for the resources necessary to successfully get information by mail questionnaire.

Archival Copy on File

In 1990 the Federal Judicial Center published Court-Annexed Arbitration in Ten District Courts, a statutorily mandated evaluation of the pilot court-annexed mandatory arbitration programs in ten federal district courts. The report examined how well the programs met various goals, relaying primarily on participants' responses to survey questions about fairness and reduction of cost, delay, and court burden. It also addressed how various program features affected goal achievement. The ten programs that were evaluated in the report were Eastern Pennsylvania, Northern California, Middle Florida, Western Michigan, Western Missouri, New Jersey, Western Oklahoma, Eastern New York, Middle North Carolina, and Western Texas. -- -- This unpublished document presents the data collection instruments that were used during the evaluation. -- 1. Questionnaire to Judges on Court-Annexed Arbitration (interview protocol) -- 2. Judge Survey -- 3. Attorney Survey for Cases That Closed Prior to the Arbitration Hearing -- 4. Attorney Survey for Cases Disposed of During or After the Arbitration Hearing (no demand for trial de novo) -- 5. Attorney Survey for Cases with Demands for Trial De Novo -- 6. Litigant Survey for Cases That Closed Prior to the Arbitration Hearing -- 7. Litigant Survey for Cases Disposed of During or After the Arbitration Hearing (no demand for trial de novo) -- 8. Litigant Survey for Cases with Demands for Trial De Novo -- 9. Arbitrator Survey

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