Juror perceptions of a woman who killed her abusive husband:effects of wife's psychological diagnosis, husband's history of alcoholism, and documentation of domestic violence
Hester, Amanda Spicer
This study examined about 500 mock juror perceptions in a murder trial in which the defendant claims to have killed her abusive husband in self-defense. The defendant’s psychological diagnosis, the husband’s alcohol abuse history, and documentation of domestic violence were varied across conditions. Results showed that medical evidence of domestic violence had a significant effect on guilt ratings and on perceptions of blame for the husband’s death. History of alcohol use of the husband influenced mock jurors’ perceptions of the credibility of the defendant. Juror gender effects were also found on verdict ratings. In contrast, no main effect was found for the defendant’s diagnosis.