Research Projects

Since the creation of the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies in 1992, a number of research projects have been carried out by Center staff and related personnel. These projects have included:

  • An evaluation of Court Annexed Arbitration in Nevada
  • Interviews with Nevada's District Attorneys on their views and uses of the death penalty in Nevada
  • Studies of treatment of minority religions in former Soviet Union nations since the fall of communism
  • The development of an evaluation plan for programs to reduce teenage pregnancies
  • A national study of judges' preparation for decisions about the admissibility of scientific evidence during trials.
  • Comparative studies of how religion is regulated in nations around the world, including China, Japan, Australia, Western European nations, as well as North America
  • Identification and summary of educational programs in the United States on scientific evidence for judges
  • An examination of the various roles, both on the bench and in the community, played by judges in juvenile and family courts
  • Some personal and professional effects of participation in and completion of the Master of Judicial Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno
  • A study of the introduction given by judges to voir dire in capital cases, with a focus on factors likely to affect candor of prospective jurors
  • An examination of the impact of pretrial media coverage of capital cases on awareness of the case, beliefs and knowledge about the crime and the defendant, and judgment about the guilt of the defendant

The Grant Sawyer Center helps faculty and graduate students to actively pursue research on a variety of justice issues, including:

  • Judicial decision making regarding the admissibility of scientific evidence
  • Global diffusion of novel scientific evidence
  • The comprehensibility of judges' instructions in the penalty phase of capital trials
  • The utility and effectiveness of battered woman syndrome as a defense
  • Breast implant litigation
  • Racial and socioeconomic bias in the jury selection process
  • Police and district attorney decision making in the processing of rape cases
  • The influence of pre-trial publicity on juror decision making
  • Human rights and AIDS legislation
  • The effectiveness of anger management programs for batterers
  • New religious movements and social justice issues
  • The effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as court annexed arbitration

Faculty associates at the Center are also actively publishing articles based upon their justice research and presenting papers at local, national and international professional conferences.The Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies is also committed to raising campus and community awareness of justice-related issues and research opportunities.

Past collaborations

  • American Bar Association
  • Democracy and Security Journal
  • Federal Judicial Center
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • National Judicial College
  • Nevada Bar Association
  • Nevada Department of Corrections
  • Nevada Department of Public Safety, Division of Parole and Probation
  • Nevada Department of Education
  • Nevada Supreme Court
  • Washoe County Bar Association

Technical Reports

Southern Nevada Human Sex Trafficking Gap Analysis 2023