School of Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education

First Advisor

Marcelo Castro

Second Advisor

Ginger Lerner-Wren

Third Advisor

Jared Bucker


Canon and Baum’s (1981) pioneering study examined diffusion of 23 plaintiff-oriented tort doctrines among the state court systems in 1876-1975 provided an early model to study judicial innovation. Meanwhile, Berry and Berry’s (1990) later model featured event history analysis (EHA) that was relevant for this dissertation which sought to explain political behavior. This dissertation used archival data only and was a quantitative research design that was descriptive and exploratory of the judicial policy adoption process. The researcher used quantitative archival data and described what sociological, political, and criminological factors had impacted policy adoptions over time and explored the possible associations with proposed covariates and independent variables. The states had differed in their adoption of the following torts and any associated reforms: tort of false arrest/false imprisonment and tort of assault and battery related to domestic violence. This study did not address causality and did not involve surveys or interviews carrying out experiment or observant behavior. This dissertation had tracked the adoption of criminal mental health courts across the states as a form of restorative justice. The diffusion of tort innovations was a changing process that was not well understood and merited further study.