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Dynamite Charge

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 14 Issue: 6 Dated: (December 1990) Pages: 537-550
S M Kassin; V L Smith; W F Tulloch
Date Published
14 pages
When juries report they are deadlocked, judges may deliver a supplemental instruction known as the dynamite charge which urges jurors to reexamine their views in an effort to reach a unanimous verdict. To examine the impact of this instruction, 72 mock jurors were led to believe they were participating in a controlled deliberation by voting and passing notes.
Subjects were randomly assigned to the majority or minority faction of a 3-to-1 split. After the third round of deliberation, half the subjects received the dynamite charge, half did not. Results provided support for the hypothesis that the dynamite charge causes jurors in the minority to feel coerced and to change their votes and encourages those in the majority to exert increasing amounts of social pressure. These findings are discussed for their practical implications, limitations, and directions for further research. 4 figures and 19 references (Author abstract)


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