A re-examination of the acquittal biasing effect of offence seriousness

Lundrigan, Samantha, Dhami, Mandeep K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6157-3142 and Mueller-Johnson, Katrin (2018) A re-examination of the acquittal biasing effect of offence seriousness. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law . ISSN 1321-8719 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1080/13218719.2018.1478334)

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The justice system should operate free of any bias, and jurors’ judgments of a defendant’s guilt should be based on evidential factors alone. However, research suggests that this does not always occur. We aimed to investigate the biasing effect of offence seriousness, a case-related, extra-legal factor, on juror decision-making. In an experiment, we examined the effect of this extra-legal factor on 118 members of the jury eligible publics’ interpretations of Beyond Reasonable Doubt (BRD), probability of commission, verdict, and confidence in verdict.
We found that defendants charged with more serious offences were judged to be less likely to have committed the crime. However, offence seriousness did not have a significant effect on interpretations of BRD or verdict. The present findings suggest a need to instruct jurors on the application of legal (probative) factors alone.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 24517
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law on 19/06/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13218719.2018.1478334
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Depositing User: Mandeep Dhami
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2021 11:45
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/24517

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