Recently, many writers have argued that equal protection for victims of rape is not presently offered in the courts since the outcomes of rape trials are frequently influenced by certain victim, defendant, and rape case characteristics. By systematically manipulating the factors of defendant and victim race, victim physical attractiveness, victim sexual experience, strength of evidence presented, and type of rape committed in a legal rape case, the present study sought to examine the effects of these factors on jurors' verdicts. Data collected from a sample of 896 citizens serving as mock jurors for the rape case indicated that these extraevidential factors had significant effects. Furthermore, it was found that the factors did not act independently as a number of significant interactions were identified. These interactions suggested that the impact of extraevidential factors on jurors' decisions is far more complex than what some writers and law reformers have thought. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of discriminatory treatment of plaintiffs and defendants in rape cases and the role of juror selection in introducing “fairness” in rape trials.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Chapplell, D. Forcible rape:A national survey of the responses by prosecutors (research report). Seattle: Battelle Human Affairs Research Center, Law and Justice Study Center, 1977.
Prigmore, C., & Teare, R.Project on computerization of jury lists. Unpublished manuscript, University of Alabama, 1978.
Bienen, L. Personal communication, February 28, 1979.
Chappell, D., Legrand, C., & Reich, J.Forcible rape: An analysis of legal issues (research report). Seattle: Battelle Human Affairs Research Center, Law and Justice Study Center, 1978.
Amir, M.Patterns in forcible rape. University of Chicago Press, 1971.
Babcock, B., Freedman, A., Norton, E., & Ross, S.Sex disrimination and the law. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975.
Barber, R. Judge and jury attitudes to rape.Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 1974,7, 157–172.
Barnett, N., & Feild, H. Character of the defendant and defendant sentencing in rape and burglary crimes.Journal of Social Psychology, 1978,104, 271–277.
Berg, K., & Vidmar, N. Authoritarianism and recall of evidence about criminal behavior.Journal of Research in Personality, 1975,9, 147–157.
Berger, V. Man's trial, woman's tribulation: Rape cases in the courtroom.Columbia Law Review, 1977,77, 1–101.
Bienen, L. Rape II.Women's Rights Law Reprter, 1977,3, 90–137.
Bohmer, C., & Blumberg, A. Twice traumatized: The rape victim and the court.Judicature, 1975,58, 390–399.
Borgida, E. Character testimony in the law: What kind of evidence is informative? Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, 1976.
Borgida, E. Evidentiary reform of rape laws: A psycholegal approach. In P. Lipsett & B. Sales (Eds.),New Directions in Psycholegal Research. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980.
Bray, R. The mock trial: Problems and prospects for jury research. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., September, 1976.
Brownmiller, S.Against our will: Men, women, and rape, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.
Bullock, H. Significance of the racial factor in the length of prison sentences.The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 1961,52, 411–417.
Calhoun, L., Selby, J., Cann, A., & Keller, G. The effects of victim physical attractiveness and sex of respondent on social reactions to victims of rape.The British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (in press).
Calhoun, L., Selby, J., & Warring, L. Social perception of the victim's causal role in rape: An exploratory examination of four factors.Human Relations, 1975,29, 517–526.
Centers, R., Shomer, R., & Rodrigues, A. A field experiment in interpersonal persuasion using authoritative influence.Journal of Personality, 1970,38, 392–402.
Criminal victimization in the United States. (Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Department of Justice). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977.
Davis, H. Bray, R., & Holt, R. The empirical study of social decision processes in juries. In J. Tapp & F. Levine (Eds.),Law, Justice, and the Individual in Society: Psychological and Legal Issues, New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1977.
Dodson, M. People v. Rincon-Pineda: Rape trials depart the seventeenth century — farewell to Lord Hale,Tulsa Law Journal, 1975,11, 279–290.
Efran, M. The effect of physical appearance on the judgment of guilt, interpersonal attraction, and severity of recommended punishment in a simulated jury task.Journal of Research in Personality, 1974,8, 45–54.
Feild, H. Attitudes toward rape: A comparative analysis of police, rapists, crisis counselors, and citizens.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1978a,36, 156–179.
Feild, H. Juror background characteristics and attitudes toward rape: Correlates of jurors' decision in rape trials.Law and Human Behavior, 1978b,2, 73–93.
Feild, H., & Barnett, N. Forcible rape: An up-dated bibliography.Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1977,68, 146–159.
Feild, H., & Barnett, N. Simulated jury trials: Students vs. “real” people as jurors.The Journal of Social Psychology, 1978,104, 287–293.
Feldman-Summers, S., & Linder, K. Perceptions of victims and defendants in criminal assault cases.Criminal Justice and Behavior, 1976,3, 135–149.
Findlay, B. Cultural context of rape.Women's Lawyers' Journal, 1974,60, 199–206.
Frederick, J., & Luginbuhl, J. The accused rapist: Influence of penalty options and respectability. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., September, 1976.
Galton, E. Police processing of rape complaints: A case study.American Journal of Criminal Law, 1975–1976,4, 15–30.
Gerbasi, K., Zuckerman, M., & Reis, H. Justice needs a new blindfold: A review of mock jury research.Psychological Bulletin, 1977,84, 323–345.
Hagan, J. Extra-legal attributes and criminal sentencing: An assessment of a sociological viewpoint.Law and Society Review, 1974,7, 357–383.
Hamilton, V. Obedience and responsibility: A jury simulation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1978,36, 126–146.
Harris, L. Towards a consent standard in the law of rape.University of Chicago Law Review, 1976,43, 613–645.
Hays, W.Statistics for the social sciences. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1973.
Hibey, R. A. The trial of a rape case: An advocate's analysis of corroboration, consent, and character.The American Criminal Law Review, 1973,11, 309–333.
Howard, J. Racial discrimination in sentencing.Judicature, 1975,59, 121–125.
If she consented once, she consented again — A legal fallacy in forcible rape cases.Valparaiso University Law Review, 1976,10, 127–167.
Izzett, R., & Leginski, W. Group discussion and the influence of defendant characteristics in a simulated jury setting.Journal of Social Psychology, 1974,93, 271–279.
Jones, C., & Aronson, E. Attribution of fault to a rape victim as a function of respectability of the victim.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1973,26, 415–419.
Jurow, G. New data on the effect of a death-qualified jury on the guilt determination process.Harvard Law Review, 1971,84, 567–611.
Kairys, D., Schulman, J., & Harring, S. (Eds.),The jury system: New methods for reducing jury prejudice. Philadelphia: National Jury Project 1975.
Kalven, H., & Zeisel, H.The American jury. Boston: Little, Brown, 1966.
Kaplan, M., & Kemmerick, G. Juror judgment as information integration: Comining evidential and non-evidential information.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1974,30, 493–499.
Landy, D., & Aronson, E. The influence of the character of the criminal and his victim on the decisions of simulated jurors.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1969,5, 141–152.
Lerner, M. The justice motive in social behavior.Journal of Social Issues, 1975,31, whole issue.
Lerner, M., & Simmons, C. Observer's reaction to the “innocent victim”: Compassion or rejection?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1966,4, 203–210.
Mathiasen, S. The rape victim: A victim of society and the law.Willamette Law Journal, 1974,11, 36–55.
Nagel, S.The legal process from a behavioral perspective. Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1969.
Nemeth, C., & Sosis, R. A simulated jury study: Characteristics of defendant and the jurors.Journal of Social Psychology, 1973,90, 221–229.
Partington, D. The incidence of the death penalty for rape in Virginia.Washington and Lee Law Review, 1965,22, 50–53.
“Rape: Does justice turn its head?”Los Angeles Times, Marth 12, 1972, E l.
Riger, S., & Gordon, M. The structure of rape prevention beliefs.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1979,5, 186–190.
Rosenthal, R.Experimenter effects in behavioral research. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1966.
Scroggs, J. Penalties for rape as a function of victim provocativeness, damage, and resistance.Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1976,6, 360–368.
Sealy, A., & Cornish, W. Jurors and their verdicts.Modern Law Review, 1973,36, 496–508.
Sigall, H., & Ostrove, N. Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of offender attractiveness and nature of the crime on juridic judgment.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1973,31, 410–411.
Stephan, C. Setective characteristics of jurors and litigants: Their influences on juries' verdicts. In R. Simon (ed.)The Jury System in America. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1975.
Suggs, D., & Sales, D. The art and science of conducting thevoir dire.Professional Psychology, 1978,9, 367–388.
Uniform crime reports for the United States. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975.
Vines, N., & Jacobs, M. Studies in judicial policics.Tulane Studies in Political Science, 1963,8, 77–98.
Washburn, R. Rape law: The need for reform.New Mexico Law Review, 1975,5, 279–309.
Wolfgang, M., & Cohen, B.Crime and rape. New York: Institute of Human Relations Press, 1976.
Wolfgang, M., & Riedel, M. Race and the death penalty.Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, 1973,407, 119–133.
Wolfgang, M., & Riedel, M. Rape, race, and the death penalty in Georgia.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1975,45, 658–668.
About this article
Cite this article
Feild, H.S. Rape trials and jurors' decisions. Law Hum Behav 3, 261–284 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01039806
- Significant Interaction
- Social Psychology
- Sexual Experience
- Physical Attractiveness
- Case Characteristic