Thesis

Elder abuse in court: predictors of judicial response to restraining order applications

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2017.

A literature search concluded that research analyzing the court response to applications for elder abuse restraining orders is non-existent. With the elderly rapidly increasing their representation in the total population it is imperative we understand the relationship between the courts and elders seeking court assistance. Using Sacramento County Family Court documents pertaining to requests for protective orders, we have assessed the influence of selected variables on judicial decision-making regarding issuance of Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders. In making this assessment we applied logistic regression analysis to a randomly selected sample of one hundred and seventy cases. Legal variables outweighed extra-legal variables in affecting the judicial decision to issue a Temporary Order. The likelihood of petitioner appearance at the Permanent Restraining Order hearing, and judicial authorization of such orders are also examined. As many as one-third of plaintiffs granted a PRO hearing date chose not to appear at the hearing. Lacking compelling legal reasons to deny a PRO, judges, with very few exceptions, routinely grant plaintiff requests for permanent protective orders. Recommendations for further study are presented.

A literature search concluded that research analyzing the court response to applications for elder abuse restraining orders is non-existent. With the elderly rapidly increasing their representation in the total population it is imperative we understand the relationship between the courts and elders seeking court assistance. Using Sacramento County Family Court documents pertaining to requests for protective orders, we have assessed the influence of selected variables on judicial decision-making regarding issuance of Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders. In making this assessment we applied logistic regression analysis to a randomly selected sample of one hundred and seventy cases. Legal variables outweighed extra-legal variables in affecting the judicial decision to issue a Temporary Order. The likelihood of petitioner appearance at the Permanent Restraining Order hearing, and judicial authorization of such orders are also examined. As many as one-third of plaintiffs granted a PRO hearing date chose not to appear at the hearing. Lacking compelling legal reasons to deny a PRO, judges, with very few exceptions, routinely grant plaintiff requests for permanent protective orders. Recommendations for further study are presented.

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