Sven Smith

Associate Professor of Sociology

Sven Smith's work looks at rationality and learning theory and their intersection. His work informs criminal courts, law enforcement and broader legal policy. He is an active researcher, teacher, practicing attorney and chair of the pre-law program here at Stetson. He most appreciates giving students the skills they need to become proficient and confident in their professional pursuits.

  • PhD, law and society, University of Florida
  • J.D., Florida State University
  • MA, sociology, University of Chicago
  • BA, sociology, Stetson University




Smith is a researcher focusing on the organizational structure and psych-social aspects of courtroom culture. He also studies social learning as comparable to other prevalent theories in criminal justice and crime. He is a practicing attorney that has tried close to 50 cases and hundreds of evidentiary motion hearings in commercial-civil, criminal and administrative courts. He has served as an assistant state attorney and was the lead appraisal senior attorney for the state of Florida at the Division of Real Estate. He continues to work of-counsel as a part-time trial attorney and contract attorney at a small commercial and real estate law firm. He has worked at the think tank for the American Bar Association, and the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked as a researcher on The American Jury Project, applying social-psychology and legal theory. He also works as a consultant/researcher and writer for the Center for Justice Research in Texas. He is the chair of the pre-law program at Stetson, serving as faculty advisor to the legal honorary society (Phi Alpha Delta), the director of its Mock Trial Teams and coach/director of its Moot Court Team.

More About Sven Smith

Areas of Expertise

  • Sociology of trial jurors
  • Relationship between structure and behavior

Course Sampling

  • Sociology of Law
  • Sociology of Criminal Procedure
  • Criminology
  • Sociology of Power in National and International Contexts
  • Statistics
  • Research writing courses

  • Social learning theory
  • Rationality and organizational theory
  • Criminology
  • Law

  • Smith, S., Smith, J., & Auyong, Z. (2022). Evaluating Judges in State Courthouses: The Potential Effects of Organizational Size. CrimRxiv.
  • Smith, S., Ferguson, C. J., & Henderson, H. (2021). An Exploratory Study of Environmental Stress in Four High Violent Crime Cities: What Sets Them Apart?. Crime & Delinquency, 00111287211057858.
  • Smith, S., Ferguson, C. J., Askew, R., Pitts, J., & Hinderleider, A. (2021). Gun ownership, poverty, and mental health associations with crime: A cross-state comparison. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 17488958211060473.
  • Beaver, K. M., Boccio, C., Smith, S., & Ferguson, C. J. (2019). Physical attractiveness and justice system processing: results from a longitudinal sample of youth and young adults. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 26(4), 669-681.
  • Smith, S., Askew, R. & Lang, E.  (2019). Courthouse Size and Its Impact on Judicial Performance: Insights From Weber’s Theory of Rationality. Journal of Courts and Law:  7(2),
  • Smith, J. & Smith, S. (2018). Sentencing & The Iron Cage: Judges Experiences With Rationalization (RJCJ-2017-0046). Journal of Crime and Justice. 12(4)
  • Auyong, Z., Smith, S., (2018). Girls in Gangs: Exploring Risk in a British Youth Context. Crime & Delinquency, doi:10.1177/0011128718763130
  • Smith, S., Ferguson, C., & Beaver, K. (2018). A Longitudinal Analysis of Shooter Games and Their Relationship with Conduct Disorder and Crime. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 58, 48-53. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2018.02.008 
  • Smith, S., Gomez Auyong, Z., & Ferguson, C. (2018). Social Learning, Social Disorganization, and Psychological Risk Factors for Criminal Gangs in a British Youth Context. Deviant Behavior, doi:10.1080/01639625.2018.1438059 
  •  Rose, M., Murphy, B., & Smith, S. (2006). Juror Questions During Trial: A Window into Juror Thinking. Vanderbilt Law Review, 59(6), 1927-1972.