The Federal Rules of Evidence allow defendants to offer testimony about their good character, but that testimony can be impeached with cross-examination or a rebuttal witness. It is assumed that jurors use the defense's character evidence (CE) to form guilt and conviction judgments but use impeachment evidence only to assess the character witness's credibility. Two experiments tested these assumptions by presenting mock jurors with various forms of CE and impeachment. Participants made trait ratings for the character witness and defendant and guilt and conviction judgments. Positive CE did not affect guilt or conviction judgments, but cross-examination caused a backlash in which judgments were harsher than when no CE was given. Using path analysis, the authors tested a model of the process by which CE and impeachment affect defendant and witness impressions and guilt and conviction judgments. Implications for juror decision making are discussed.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Psychology|
|State||Published - Apr 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology