Behind the veil of juror decision making: Testing the effects of Muslim veils and defendant race in the courtroom
Recent case law has considered whether a Muslim woman who wishes to appear in court should be allowed to testify wearing a veil that covers part of her face (e.g., Muhammad v. Paruk, 2008, in the United States, R. v. N.S., 2009, in Canada). The current research sought to test the influence of a victim's wearing of a veil while testifying on juror decision making in a sexual assault trial. In addition, the study tested for effects of defendant race using Middle Eastern and Caucasian as the target races, given that there is a paucity of research comparing these races in the juror decision-making literature. Results demonstrated that contrary to hypotheses, jurors were more convinced of the defendant's guilt when the victim was wearing a burqa or hijab to testify than when she testified wearing no veil. Defendant race did not have an effect on any of the dependent variables in this research; however, mock juror gender was found to be influential. Potential reasons for these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
|Keywords||defendant race, juror decision making, religious veils, sexual assault trials|
|Journal||Criminal Justice and Behavior|
Maeder, E.M, Dempsey, J. (Julie), & Pozzulo, J. (2012). Behind the veil of juror decision making: Testing the effects of Muslim veils and defendant race in the courtroom. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39(5), 666–678. doi:10.1177/0093854812436478