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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 89764 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Defendants' and Victims' Characteristics on Jurors' Verdicts (From Psychology of the Courtroom, P 83-115, 1982, Norbert L Kerr and Robert M Bray, ed. - See NCJ-89761)
Author(s): F C Dane; L S Wrightsman
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press, Inc
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
Sale Source: Academic Press, Inc
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Suite 1900
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the research on defendant and victim effects on trial outcomes for six characteristics: gender, socioeconomic status, moral character, general attractiveness, race, and attitude similarity.
Abstract: The authors relied on Abelson's theory of scripts (1976), pointing out that defendant and victim characteristics may have differential effects, since jurors' vignettes of trial events may occur at varying levels of abstraction. Knowing that a characteristic is incorporated into the script as a categorical or hypothetical vignette may allow researchers to determine the extent or direction of the characteristic's influence. Findings indicate that defendant and victim characteristics do, however slightly, influence jurors' reactions to the defendant. Jurors are more likely to convict defendants of lower moral character, treat attractive defendants more leniently, and are less likely to convict defendants of the same race. However, the results are inconsistent, and more research is necessary before definite conclusions can be drawn. About 100 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Class discrimination; Defendants; Jury decisionmaking; Offender physical characteristics; Psychological research; Racial discrimination; Sex discrimination; Victims of Crime
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