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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149491 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Prejudice and Judicial Ambiguity on Defendant Guilt Ratings
Journal: Journal of Social Psychology  Volume:133  Issue:5  Dated:(October 1993)  Pages:651-659
Author(s): N A Rector; R M Bagby; R Nicholson
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 9
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the joint effects of defendant and victim characteristics and the presence or absence of the legal standard on jury decisionmaking. Specifically, the study explored whether jurors hold prejudicial attitudes toward defendants and victims and whether those attitudes influence guilty determination.
Abstract: Respondents included 245 university undergraduates who were randomly assigned to one of 18 conditions and asked to assume the role of juror. They read a segment of a transcript describing a rape trial (race of defendant and victim varied between scenarios) and were asked to rate both victim and defendant on 16 adjective scales and to determine the defendant's guilt or innocence. The results showed little evidence to suggest prejudicial attitudes toward the defendant and victim based solely on race and independent of the judicial conditions. While black defendants were rated lower in overall appeal, additional adjective-rating factors scores did not differ according to race. The overall perception of the defendant and victim did play a mediating role in jury decisionmaking; if the victim was attractive, the defendant was more likely to be convicted, and vice-versa. 3 tables and 17 references
Main Term(s): Victims of Crime
Index Term(s): Black/White Attitude Comparisons; Courts; Jury decisionmaking; Racial discrimination; Rape
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