Educating Canadian jurors about the not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder defence
Previous research has demonstrated the prevalence of negative attitudes toward the insanity defence in the United States, but attitudes toward the not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD) defence in Canada have yet to be examined. Two studies investigated whether educating mock jurors about the NCRMD defence would change their attitudes toward the defence and verdict decisions. We also investigated potential differences between student and community samples in such cases. In Study 1, we found that educating jurors about the NCRMD defence led to more positive attitudes toward the defence, but it did not affect verdicts. In Study 2, we found no effect of NCRMD education on attitudes or verdict decisions. Results did reveal an effect of sample type on the 'injustice and danger' dimension of NCRMD attitudes, such that students had more positive attitudes toward the defence than did community members. Verdicts did not vary as a function of sample type, suggesting that students may be an acceptable proxy for mock jurors in these types of studies.
|Keywords||Attitudes toward the NCRMD defence, Effects of education, Insanity defence, Juror decision-making, Student vs. community samples|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science|
Maeder, E.M, Yamamoto, S. (Susan), & Fenwick, K.L. (Kristin L.). (2015). Educating Canadian jurors about the not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder defence. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 47(3), 226–235. doi:10.1037/cbs0000016