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Impact of Pre-Recorded Video and Closed Circuit Television Testimony by Adult Sexual Assault Complainants on Jury Decision-Making: An Experimental Study

NCJ Number
Natalie Taylor; Jacqueline Joudo
Date Published
121 pages
Using mock trials, this Australian study examined whether a particular mode of victim testimony--face-to-face, closed circuit television, or video--and two styles of victim presentation (neutral or emotional) had an impact on jury decisionmaking in adult sexual assault cases.
The main finding was that the mode of testimony did not have a significant impact on jury decisionmaking; neither was there any consistent impact on jurors' perceptions or decisions based on the victim's presentation style. The study did find, however, that jurors' personal beliefs, the requirement to convict beyond reasonable doubt, and the difficulty of understanding the meaning of "consent" did influence jurors' decisions. None of the jury panels returned a guilty verdict. The authors advise that understanding the beliefs and expectations of jurors regarding what constitutes sexual assault is apparently the key to juror decisionmaking about the credibility of the complainant's testimony and the defendant's guilt. This randomized experiment involved 210 people who participated as jurors in 18 mock trials. Jurors were randomly assigned to groups, each of which was exposed to only one mode of victim testimony and to one of the two styles of victim presentation. 20 tables, 19 figures, 48 references, and 6 appendixes with statistical tables and details on methodology