The purpose of the current study was to examine whether a defendant’s developmental age, chronological age, and race influenced mock jurors’ decision making. Mock jurors (N = 444) read a trial transcript involving an assault where the defendant allegedly shoved the victim to the ground at a grocery store. The defendant’s developmental age (14 or 24 years old), chronological age (14 or 24 years old), and race (White, Black, or Aboriginal-Canadian) were varied. Mock jurors rendered a verdict and rated their perceptions of the defendant. Developmental age was found to influence verdict decisions such that a developmentally 24-year-old was given more guilty verdicts than a developmentally 14-year-old. Race was also influential such that the Black defendant received fewer guilty verdicts than the White defendant; no significant interactions were present. The presence of a developmental delay influenced mock jurors’ guilt ratings such that the defendant who was developmentally delayed received lower guilt ratings compared to a typically developing defendant. These results suggest that defendants with a developmental delay may be perceived more favorably, regardless of their race, and thus given more lenient treatment.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Defendant age, Defendant race, Developmental abilities, Developmental age, Juror decision making
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11896-016-9201-1
Journal Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Citation
Pica, E. (Emily), Pettalia, J. (Jennifer), & Pozzulo, J. (2017). The Influence of a Defendant’s Chronological Age, Developmental Age, and Race on Mock Juror Decision Making. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 32(1), 66–76. doi:10.1007/s11896-016-9201-1