Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Larry S. Miller

Committee Members

Dennis Hamm, John Briley


Our criminal justice system works very hard to prevent criminals from harming other individuals; however, unfortunately mistakes happen. One wrongful conviction is one too many. There are multiple factors that can be assumed to be the cause of wrongful convictions. However, due to the lack of directly related research, the determents are not well established. The following research addresses wrongful convictions as a result of public defender representation. Through the process of theory construction, the research uses critical race theory and social disorganization theory to show the relationship between court appointed representation and wrongful convictions. A new theory is also established that is referred to as the partial load reduction theory. This theory establishes the relationship that exists between wrongful convictions and public defender representation and provides solutions as well as new avenues for future research.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.