The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of cultural evidence toward an automatism defense, and whether such evidence would be detrimental or beneficial to a male versus a female defendant. U.S. participants (N = 208), recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, read a fictional spousal homicide case in which the defendant claimed to have blacked out during the crime. We manipulated the gender of the defendant and whether a culture-specific issue was claimed to have precipitated the defendant’s blackout. ANOVAs revealed that cultural evidence positively affected perceived credibility for the female defendant, whereas there were no differences for the male defendant. Results also demonstrated that when cultural evidence was presented, the female defendant was seen as less in control of her actions than was the male defendant. Furthermore, lower credibility and higher perceived defendant control predicted harsher verdict decisions. This investigation may aid scholars in discussing concerns regarding a clash between multicultural and feminist objectives in the courtroom.

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Keywords cultural contexts, cultural defense, homicide
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Journal Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Yamamoto, S. (Susan), & Maeder, E.M. (2017). A Case of Culture: Defendant Gender and Juror Decision-Making. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3090–3110. doi:10.1177/0886260515596976