Through interviews (n = 40) and surveys (n = 140) with separate samples of U.S. defense attorneys practicing criminal law in a Northeastern state, we utilize a mixed-methods approach to explore police procedural transgressions (e.g., pretextual stops, overreaching searches) during stops, searches, and seizures. With a structural equation path model, we examine whether and how procedural justice (an assessment of “the means” to control crime) and police effectiveness (an assessment of police performance or “the ends”) affect each other and influence perceptions of police legitimacy. Our findings indicate that procedural justice enhances perceptions of police legitimacy, whereas police effectiveness does not have an effect. Policy implications for developing mechanisms that discourage procedural transgressions by police are discussed.
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