U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Impact of Mock Jury Gender Composition on Deliberations and Conviction Rates in a Child Sexual Assault Trial

NCJ Number
Child Maltreatment Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 182-190
Jonathan M. Golding; Gregory S. Bradshaw; Emily E. Dunlap; Emily C. Hodell
Date Published
May 2007
9 pages
This study varied gender composition within mock juries in order to examine whether gender differences in individual judgment affected the jury decisionmaking process (deliberations and conviction rates) in a child sexual assault trial.
As expected from previous research on individual mock juror judgments (Bottoms et al., in press), male and female jurors had different opinions of the case before deliberating as a jury; men favored defense arguments and women favored prosecution arguments. These predeliberation gender-related perspectives apparently led to distinctive strategies and voting patterns in the jury room. During deliberations, women had an approximately equal number of proprosecution and prodefense statements; whereas, men were more likely to make only prodefense statements, especially when the ultimate verdict was not guilty. Also, women were more likely than men to switch their vote in the course of deliberations. The switching of votes, however, was related to whether the jury was composed of a majority of women. When women were in the majority, mock jurors changed from a not-guilty to guilty verdict more often than did mock jurors who were on juries that did not have a female majority. When there was not a female majority, jurors changed from a guilty to not-guilty verdict more often. Female-majority juries rendered more guilty verdicts than did juries without a female majority. The sample consisted of 300 students (150 men and 150 women) enrolled in an introductory psychology class. There were 6 members in each mock jury and 10 juries of each type. The five types of juries consisted of two female-majority juries, two male-majority juries, and one jury with an equal number of men and women. The trial involved a defendant charged with sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl, with the prosecution's case based primarily on the alleged victim's testimony. 2 figures and 25 references


No download available