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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77449 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Corroboration Instructions in a Rape Case on Experimental Juries
Journal: Osgoode Hall Law Journal  Volume:15  Issue:3  Dated:(December 1977)  Pages:701-716
Author(s): V P Hans; N Brooks
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This study tested the efficacy of judges' instruction to a jury regarding the importance of corroboration evidence by designing an experiment around a hypothetical rape case.
Abstract: The two parts of the judges' corroboration instructions (the warning about the victim's credibility and the listing of potentially corroborative evidence) were varied independently in an experimental design. Thus, there were four conditions in the experiment: one giving no corroboration instructions, the other giving a warning and listing corroborative evidence, the third giving a warning but no list, and the fourth giving a listing of the potentially corroborative evidence. The 368 male and female subjects were a heterogeneous group with respect to age and occupation. A total of 80 men and 80 women were divided into 40 groups. The rest of the subjects participated in the individual decision portion of the experiment. Depending on the experimental condition, subjects listened to one of four tape recordings which consisted of the judge's summary of the evidence and the experimental manipulation of the judge's corroboration instructions. After the completion of the decisionmaking process, the subjects were fully debriefed and questions were answered by the experimenter. Findings showed fewer guilty verdicts when corroboration instructions were given, although the difference was marginal. Furthermore, the group that had heard corroborative instructions showed a tendency to either understand the instructions or alter their defendant as a result of the instructions. The study indicates that revision or abolition of the instruction is needed. Study data and footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Court simulation; Jury decisionmaking; Jury instructions; Rules of evidence
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