ERIC Number: ED054488
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971
Reference Count: 0
The Defendant's Dilemma: Effects of Jurors' Attitudes and Authoritarianism on Judicial Decisions.
Mitchell, Herman E.; Byrne, Donn
Two hypotheses are tested: (1) that attitude similarity between defendant and juror is positively related to decisions favoring the defendant; and (2) that juror authoritarianism is negatively related to decisions favoring the defendant. In a simulated jury situation, 139 subjects who were either high or low in authoritarianism responded to an accused defendant whose attitudes were either similar to or dissimilar from their own on 5 issues irrelevant to the case. The effects of attitude similarity and authoritarianism on judicial decisions were found to be more complex than hypothesized. Generally, and compared to equalitarians, authoritarians are less inclined to judge a similar defendant as guilty and more inclined to punish a dissimilar defendant severely. Discrepancies between these findings and those of other studies are discussed. The authors suggest important implications for the legal system in the fact that some jurors (equalitarians) are more immune to legally irrelevant information than are others (authoritarians). (TL)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Purdue Univ., Lafayette, IN.