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Gender Differences in Jurors' Perceptions of Infanticide Involving Disabled and Non-Disabled Infant Victims

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 35 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 127-141
Bette L. Bottoms; Alaine K. Kalder; Margaret C. Stevenson; Barbara A. Oudekerk; Tisha R. Wiley; Alison Perona
Date Published
February 2011
15 pages
This study investigated the effect of a juror's gender and the incidence of infant victim disability on jurors' reactions to cases of infanticide.
The study found that in a group of mock jurors: women rendered more guilty verdicts, perceived the father/defendant as having a greater intent to kill the infant, felt less similar to the defendant, believed the father/defendant was more responsible and the disability was less responsible for the infant's death, had less sympathy and empathy for the defendant, and endorsed more negative beliefs about the father/defendant. Data for this study were obtained from participants in a mock trial involving alleged father-perpetrated infanticide who completed a series case-related judgments (i.e., guilt; sentence; and empathy, sympathy, and similarity toward the defendant and victim). Mediational analyses were used to examine the effects that gender played on the attitudes of the jurors towards the defendant. The results indicate that jurors' gender consistently predicted jurors' judgments regarding the defendant but the effects on the infant's disability status were less pronounced. Implications for courtroom outcomes are discussed. Tables, figures, and references