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NCJ Number: 69298 Find in a Library
Title: RAPE TRIALS AND JURORS' DECISIONS - A PSYCHOLEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF VICTIM, DEFENDANT, AND CASE CHARACTERISTICS
Journal: LAW AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(1979)  Pages:261-284
Author(s): H S FEILD
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 24
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS RESEARCH PAPER PRESENTS A PSYCHOLEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF VICTIM, DEFENDANT, AND CASE CHARACTERISTICS ON RAPE TRIALS AND ON JURORS' DECISIONS.
Abstract: IT IS ARGUED THAT EQUAL PROTECTION FOR VICTIMS OF RAPE IS NOT PRESENTLY OFFERED IN THE COURTS SINCE THE OUTCOMES OF RAPE TRIALS ARE FREQUENTLY INFLUENCED BY CERTAIN VICTIM, DEFENDANT, AND RAPE CASE CHARACTERISTICS. SPECIFICALLY THE STUDY EXAMINED HOW SIX FACTORS--DEFENDANT RACE, VICTIM RACE, VICTIM PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS, VICTIM SEXUAL EXPERIENCE, TYPE OF RAPE, AND STRENGTH OF EVIDENCE--INDEPENDENTLY AND IN COMBINATION INFLUENCED JURORS' VERDICTS IN RAPE TRIALS. SUBJECTS WERE 896 VOLUNTEER CITIZENS WHO SERVED AS JURORS IN A MOCK RAPE CASE. THREE QUESTIONNAIRES WERE ADMINISTERED: AN ATTITUDES-TOWARD-RAPE QUESTIONNAIRE, THE PERSONAL DATA SHEET, AND THE LEGAL-RAPE-CASE QUESTIONNAIRE. RESULTS INDICATED THAT SEVERAL FACTORS DID INFLUENCE JURORS' DECISIONS. THE RESULTS IMPLY THAT ISSUES OTHER THAN THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE DETERMINED THE TREATMENT OF THE ACCUSED RAPIST. THE RACE OF THE DEFENDANTS APPEARED TO INFLUENCE SENTENCING DECISIONS; I.E., JURORS GENERALLY TREATED THE BLACK DEFENDANT MORE HARSHLY. A REVIEW OF PRISON SENTENCES TESTS SHOWED THAT BLACK AND WHITE OFFENDERS WERE TREATED NO DIFFERENTLY WHEN A BLACK WOMAN WAS THE VICTIM. DIFFERENCES WERE FOUND TO OCCUR, HOWEVER, WHEN THE VICTIM WAS WHITE. A BLACK OFFENDER WHO ASSAULTED A WHITE WOMAN RECEIVED A LONGER SENTENCE THAN A BLACK OR WHITE MAN ASSAULTING A BLACK WOMAN, OR A WHITE MAN ACCUSED OF RAPING A WHITE WOMAN. FURTHERMORE, IT WAS FOUND THAT SEVERAL FACTORS INTERACTED. FOR EXAMPLE, PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS OF VICTIM, VICTIM RACE, AND DEFENDANT RACE INTERACTED SIGNIFICANTLY. PHYSICALLY UNNATTRACTIVE VICTIMS WHO WERE BLACK WERE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENCES IN SENTENCING REGARDLESS OF ASSAILANT RACE. THIS SUGGESTS THAT THE IMPACT OF EXTRA-EVIDENTIAL FACTORS ON JURORS' DECISIONS IS FAR MORE COMPLEX THAN WHAT SOME WRITERS AND LAW REFORMERS HAVE THOUGHT. IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS ARE DISCUSSED IN TERMS OF DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT OF PLAINTIFFS AND DEFENDANTS IN RAPE CASES AND THE ROLE OF JUROR SELECTION IN INTRODUCING FAIRNESS IN RAPE TRIALS. TABULAR DATA, FOOTNOTES, REFERENCE NOTES AND OVER 60 REFERENCES ARE GIVEN. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Discrimination; Juror characteristics; Jury decisionmaking; Rape; Rapists; Sexual assault victims
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69298

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