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Procedural due process in modern problem-solving courts: An application of the asymmetric immune knowledge hypothesis

Leah C Georges, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Problem-solving courts, such as drug and mental health courts, function under the model of therapeutic jurisprudence—the idea that legal policies and procedures should help and not harm clients, within the confines of the law (Winick & Wexler, 2002). Although it would seem that the lack of procedural due process in most problem-solving courts is in direct opposition to the best interests of a client, it is possible that observers find this more of a problem than do the court clients themselves. This two-experiment study applied Igou's (2008) AIK hypothesis to problem-solving courts' practice of sanctioning in the absence of due process. Specifically, it is possible that observers find problem-solving courts' lack of procedural due process more of a problem than do the clients themselves because of differences in perspective and discordant knowledge of the coping strategies that problem-solving court clients utilize. This research sought to test these ideas. Experiment 1 manipulated the perspective from which participants considered a drug or mental health court sanction proceeding, with or without due process present. Experiment 1 also explored the moderating and mediating effects of participants' coping knowledge and perceived similarity as it related to their anticipated affect and well-being as a result of the sanction. Experiment 2 manipulated coping directly to determine whether a discordant coping knowledge would explain the perspective effects identified in Experiment 1. Taken together, the findings of these experiments provided mixed support for traditional self-other effects in affective forecasting (Gilbert, Pinel, Wilson, Blumberg, & Wheatley, 1998; Hsee & Hastie, 2006; Igou, 2004; 2008; Van Boven & Lowenstein, 2003; Wiener, Gervais, Allen, & Marquez, 2013) and even less support for Igou's asymmetric immune knowledge hypothesis (2008). However, several important, legally relevant findings provide an opportunity to inform future psycholegal research in the area of procedural fairness, due process, and the inherent differences between drug and mental health courts and their clients.

Subject Area

Law|Social psychology|Public policy

Recommended Citation

Georges, Leah C, "Procedural due process in modern problem-solving courts: An application of the asymmetric immune knowledge hypothesis" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3618591.