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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148431 Find in a Library
Title: Severity of Penalty, Seriousness of the Charge, and Mock Jurors' Verdicts
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1994)  Pages:189-202
Author(s): J L Freedman; K Krismer; J E MacDonald; J A Cunningham
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 14
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports the results of a number of experiments designed to explore the effect of severity of penalty and seriousness of charge on verdict.
Abstract: The results from this series of four experiments showed no indication that mock jurors are less likely to vote guilty when the penalty is more severe. In several experiments, the jurors' assessment of how harsh or lenient the sentences were relative to the seriousness of the crime suggested that they understood both the charges and sanctions. The range of penalties used in these experiments ranged from a few years' imprisonment to life. The findings indicate that as long as the amount of evidence legally required for conviction does not change, the likelihood that jurors will vote guilty is affected neither by the seriousness of the charge nor by the severity of the penalty. 4 tables and 7 references
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Jury decisionmaking; Sentencing factors
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