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NCJ Number: 48234 Find in a Library
Title: SEX AND RACE AS FACTORS AFFECTING THE ATTRIBUTION OF INSANITY IN A MURDER TRIAL
Journal: JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:93  Dated:(MAY 1976)  Pages:93-99
Author(s): R P MCGLYNN; J C MEGAS; D H BENSON
Corporate Author: Journal Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Journal Press
Provincetown, MA 02657
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MALE AND FEMALE COLLEGE STUDENTS READ A SUMMARY OF A VIOLENT MURDER CASE WHERE AN INSANITY PLEA WAS ENTERED IN ORDER TO MEASURE VERDICT, LENGTH OF RECOMMENDED SENTENCE, AND CERTAIN DEFENDANT CHARACTERISTICS.
Abstract: A DEFENDANT CANNOT BE FOUND GUILTY OF A CRIME IF IT CAN BE PROVEN THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS INSANE AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME. THE CASE DESCRIPTION OF AN INSANITY DEFENSE USED IN THIS STUDY WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM AN ACTUAL CASE. (A DEFENDANT KNOCKS ON THE DOOR OF THE SPOUSE'S HOME AFTER MIDNIGHT AND DEMANDS THAT SOMEONE COME OUT. WHEN THE LATCH IS RELEASED, THE DEFENDANT SHOOTS THE SPOUSE'S LOVER AND SUBSEQUENTLY CONFESSES TO THE MURDER.) THIS STIMULUS MATERIAL, INCLUDING COURT INSTRUCTIONS AND A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF THE DEFENDANT, WAS PRESENTED TO 208 CAUCASIAN UNDERGRADUATE PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. THE BASIC INFORMATION WAS THE SAME FOR ALL EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS. THE SEX VARIABLE WAS MANIPULATED BY REFERRING TO THE DEFENDANT BY A MALE OR FEMALE NAME OR PRONOUN. THE RACE VARIABLE WAS EXPLICITLY STATED AND MADE CREDIBLE BY DESCRIBING THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE CRIME AS TAKING PLACE IN EITHER A POOR OR MIDDLE-CLASS SECTION OF THE CITY. THE STUDY INDICATES THAT RACE OR SEX VARIABLES MAY AFFECT CASES IN WHICH INSANITY PLEAS ARE ENTERED. THERE WAS A TREND TOWARD A HIGHER PROPORTION OF GUILTY VERDICTS FOR BLACK MALE DEFENDANTS BY THE WHITE COLLEGE STUDENTS. MALES TENDED TO RECEIVE LONGER RECOMMENDED SENTENCES THAN FEMALES. ALSO IN RESPECT TO SEX, THE FEMALE ACCUSED OF A VIOLENT CRIME WAS SEEN AS MORE 'SICK' THAN A MALE WHO HAD COMMITTED A SIMILAR CRIME. LASTLY, ATHOUGH BLACK MALES RECEIVED GUILTY SENTENCES MORE FREQUENTLY, THE WHITE MALES RECEIVED THE HARSHEST VERDICTS IN THE FORM OF LONGER RECOMMENDED SENTENCES. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. A TABLE PRESENTS THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY. (JSP)
Index Term(s): Insanity defense; Sex discrimination; Studies
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48234

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