Date of Award

Spring 2021


Capstone - Open Access


Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Nicole Frisch-Scott


This study seeks to determine whether there are any differences in conviction rates or client satisfaction between public defenders and private attorneys in state or federal courts. Although researchers have spent time examining differences between attorney type and client satisfaction or conviction rates, little information exists on the assessment of attorney type in the federal system. The study will consist of a two-part survey with approximately twenty-seven closed-ended questions about client satisfaction, conviction, court, and attorney type. The target population will be any criminal defendant in federal or state court with an attorney. In this study, the sampling method will be a two-stage cluster, stage one will be both federal and state courts, and stage two will be defendants within the selected courts. There will be a total of one thousand cases to collect information on numerous defendants. The data will be quantitative and analyzed using regression analysis to determine whether there is a relationship between attorney type and client satisfaction or conviction rates. Based on prior research, the hypothesis is that defendants with private attorneys in the state court system would have greater client satisfaction and lower conviction rates than their counterparts.