The impact of Mock Jury gender composition on deliberations and conviction rates in a child sexual assault trial

Jonathan M. Golding, Gregory S. Bradshaw, Emily E. Dunlap, Emily C. Hodell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated how the gender composition of mock juries affects deliberations and conviction rates in a child sexual assault (CSA) trial. As opposed to studies in which mock jurors make decisions as individuals, mock jury research allows for investigation of how individual decisions translate into group verdicts. Gender composition within mock juries was varied to examine whether well-established gender differences in individual judgments affect the jury-level decision-making process. Three hundred men and women, in 6-member mock juries, heard a fictional CSA trial. During deliberations, proprosecution/ prodefense statements by women were approximately equal, whereas men made more prodefense statements. Women switched votes during deliberations more than did men; jurors in woman majority mock juries changed from not guilty to guilty more often than did jurors in nonwoman majority juries, and vice versa; and woman majority mock juries convicted most often. Findings indicate that predeliberation gender differences led to unique jury deliberation strategies and voting patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • Child sexual assault
  • Child witnesses
  • Jury decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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