Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Charles Crawford


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of financial resources upon pretrial release and criminal case outcomes. Data related to the pretrial and criminal case outcomes was analyzed to determine the effect that financial ability has on being released prior to trial and the subsequent adjudication outcome rendered. Other relationships included were ethnicity and sex based on the literature in this area.

The data that were chosen for this study included individual and county-level data compiled by the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the processing of a sample of formally charged felony defendants in the state courts of the nation's 75 most populous counties in 1998 and 2000. Due to the fact that this did not involve a random sample, the results are not generalizable to the all of the counties in the U.S., but only describe the counties included in the sample.

The findings support The Interactional Theory of Financialism and Cumulative Disadvantage. The results also show, as an indicator of financial ability, poor defendants with indigent attorney types are significantly more likely to have higher rates of both pretrial detention and subsequent convictions compared to defendants with private attorneys that is statistically significant net of controls for legal and demographics factors. The findings also show being detained for failure to post bail (and any reason at all) has an effect on subsequent criminal case outcomes that is statistically significant net of controls for legal, financial and demographic factors. The findings suggest the importance of social and economic factors in shaping the effects of sex, race-ethnicity on pretrial outcomes and subsequent case outcomes. This means that (by extension) having a balanced research approach to examining the impact of factors in the processing of criminal cases should include financial factors because they have a greater impact than race-ethnicity and sex. However, an extension of this research model may need to be explored for the interaction of race/ethnicity, sex, and financial factors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access