Title

The Effects of Impact Statements on Jurors' Decisions and Perceptions of the Victim and Defendant

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-18-2019

Publication Title

Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice

Volume

15

Issue

2

First page number:

185

Last page number:

200

Abstract

At the penalty phase of capital trials, emotionally charged testimony can be presented about the loss of the victim (Victim Impact Statement; VIS) or the potential loss of the defendant (Execution Impact Statement; EIS). This experiment examined how these impact statements influence mock jurors' decisions while accounting for evidence strength using a 2 (VIS or no VIS) X 2 (EIS or no EIS) X 2 (high aggravator case or high mitigator case) between-subjects design. Overall, results suggest impact statements do not strongly influence jurors' decisions. In contrast, evidence strength and perceptions of the defendant strongly predicted jurors' weighing of aggravators and mitigators and their sentencing decisions. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Keywords

Impact Statements; Death Penalty; Juror Decision-Making; Aggravating and Mitigating Evidence; Victim and Defendant Perceptions

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Language

English


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