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NCJ Number: 98111 Find in a Library
Title: When Crimes Are Joined at Trial
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:193-207
Author(s): E Greene; E F Loftus
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Two experiments using mock jurors indicated that a defendant charged with murder and rape was more likely to be convicted of either crime if the two charges were enjoined in one trial.
Abstract: In the first experiment, two criminal case descriptions were taken from official police reports: one described evidence collected by police investigating a homicide and the other described evidence concerning a rape. One suspect allegedly had committed both crimes. The 90 subjects, undergraduates at the University of Washington, were divided into three groups: one-third read the description of the evidence of the murder; one-third read the description of the rape; and one-third read about both the murder and the rape. On the next day, all returned to answer a questionnaire. The second experiment involved 166 undergraduates who read excerpts from a hypothetical trial based on the case descriptions used in experiment one. These included attorneys' opening statements, witnesses' testimony, closing arguments, and judge's instructions. Half the jurors were given the multiple offense instruction currently used in Washington State. In addition, the experiment varied the time at which the instruction was given. In both experiments, the defendant was more likely to be convicted when the charges were enjoined. Questionnaire responses indicated that the defendant was perceived in a more negative way when standing trial on two offenses. The order in which the charges were heard had no effect, nor did instructions to judge the cases separately. Tables and 15 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Joinder and severance; Jury decisionmaking; Stolen vehicle costs; Verdict prediction
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