Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Abstract

According to social construction theory, cases are not objective entities waiting to be discovered or revealed; they cannot exist without case-makers. Construction of a case is a subjective process of choosing, increasing, decreasing, selecting, and reshaping. Therefore, a natural gap exists between the constructed and the real world. This dissertation delves into the gap, not from the existing angle of selectiveness, but from the angle of compliance. The study uses empirical data to try to answer the following question: Since the police standardization reform of law enforcement—at least parts of them—aim at controlling the evidence-collecting process and at improving the quality of dossiers, do investigative officers actually conform to standardization rules, and do dossiers meet standardization requirements? After carefully examining the contents of 16 homicide cases collected from two police departments and interviewing the relevant participants, the study reveals unintended consequences of the standardization reform—expansion of formality. Investigative behaviors have become ceremonial or ritualized, and the outcome of those behaviors (i.e. evidence collected) is like an empty shell. It looks reasonable and ostensibly meets requirements of norms, but has little meaning, if any, and may not fulfill its original purpose. The theoretical analyses of this dissertation reflect the view that participants (i.e. investigative officers, case reviewers, or supervisors) must be embedded into the working environment where they take action for collecting and preserving evidence. Inspired by the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework proposed by Professor Elinor Ostrom, the interpretation of the study’s findings places the organizational structure of the investigative officers and the texture of the collective culture in the center of the stage. Only through the lens of influencing factors, such as conflicting norms and interests of investigative officers, can the true roots of administrative logic over judicial logic in the course of action be seen.

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