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The effects of a victim impact statement and gender on juror information processing in a criminal trial : does the punishment fit the crime?

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Lynne ForsterleeLynne Forsterlee, Gayle FoxGayle Fox, Robert ForsterleeRobert Forsterlee, Robert HoRobert Ho
This study examines the effects of a victim impact statement (VIS) and gender on decision making. A total of 238 jury-eligible participants from the community were randomly assigned to one of eight versions of a heinous murder trial, based on real case. Half the participants received a VIS, while the remainder did not. In addition, the design manipulated offender and victim gender. When no VIS was presented, male defendants received harsher sentences than females. The inclusion of the VIS decreased the disparity, resulting in a more severe sentence for the female, while the male offender's sentence was unaffected. The harsher sentence appeared to be the result of an increase in the perceived deviancy (as measured by volition and future dangerousness) of the female offender, due to the VIS.The interpretation was supported by the higher ratings of "anger" against the female defendant when the VIS was included. The sentences rendered by male jurors were predicted by the ratings of "future dangerousness", "volition" and the VIS, whereas sentencing of females was predicted only by future dangerousness and the volition scores. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

39

Issue

1

Start Page

57

End Page

67

Number of Pages

11

ISSN

0005-0067

Location

Abingdon OX, UK

Publisher

Taylor & Francis Group

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Health and Sciences; TBA Research Institute;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Australian psychologist.

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