Journal of Family Violence Volume: 20 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2005 Pages: 403-408
This study explored the effects of situational, participant, and defendant factors on the verdicts of simulated jurors’ in cases in which battered women have killed their abusive partners.
Study results indicated that the situational factors of the violent situation impacted perceptions of guilt more than participant and defendant factors. Battered women who suffered emotional abuse were significantly more likely to be judged guilty by simulated jurors than those who suffered physical abuse. The participant and defendant characteristics of race, gender, and prior knowledge of domestic violence were not significantly associated with judgments of guilt or innocence. Participants were a multicultural and African-American sample of 130 male and female undergraduate students who received class credit for their participation. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions that varied the race of the battered woman (either Caucasian or African-American) and the type of abuse (either emotional or physical). Participants read the trial transcripts of the cases and then completed questionnaires assessing their perception of the case as well as demographic information and prior knowledge of domestic violence. Future research should attempt to replicate the findings of this study with adult jurors rather than a college student sample. Tables, references
United States of America