This study examined the joint influence of defendant race (Black/White) and mental disorder type (schizophrenia/depression) on mock juror decisions in a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) case. We reasoned that unwillingness to vote for insanity would be more pronounced for a Black defendant with schizophrenia, given overlapping dangerousness and criminality stereotypes associated with those groups. Online community participants (N = 216) read a fictional second-degree murder case in which we varied mental disorder type and defendant race, then provided a verdict (guilty/NGRI) and answered questions regarding the trial. In line with hypotheses, participants were significantly more likely to vote guilty for a Black defendant with schizophrenia as compared to depression, but there were no significant differences for the White defendant. Results of this study suggest that bias in insanity trials can be exacerbated for a racialized defendant.

Defendant race, Insanity, Juror decision-making, Mental disorder, NGRI
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2019.101536
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Maeder, E.M, Yamamoto, S. (Susan), & McLaughlin, K.J. (Kendra J.). (2020). The influence of defendant race and mental disorder type on mock juror decision-making in insanity trials. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 68. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2019.101536