Race and Jury Decisions in a Civil Rape Trial

Melissa A. Pigott
Magnus Research Consultants, Inc.
Linda A. Foley, Reni Fenton, Robert Rivera, and W. Austin Tomlinson
University of North Florida

The purpose of the jury system is to protect the rights of the defendant and to assure that justice is achieved. However, rights are not always protected and justice is not always achieved through the jury system. Recent trials such as those involving Rodney King and O.J. Simpson have elicited renewed attention to racial discrimination within the criminal justice system. Research in this area has a long history of conflicting results and conclusions.
People who are not involved with the legal system assume that jurors make decisions on the basis of the evidence provided in a trial. To a great extent, this assumption is accurate. However, when the evidence is ambiguous, the situation which exists in many jury trials, other factors also influence the decisions. For example, research has found that extralegal factors influence jury decisions.
Mock jury research has shown that Black, poor, and uneducated defendants are judged more harshly than other defendants (McGlynn, Megas, & Benson, 1976; Rokeach & Vidmar, 1973; Ugwuegbu, 1979). The race of the victim also affects judgments — Blacks who victimize Whites are treated more harshly and Blacks who victimize Blacks are treated less harshly than other defendants (Ugwuegbu, 1979). In addition, mock jurors tend to judge defendants more harshly when the victim is the same race as the juror (Ugwuegbu, 1979). Similar results are obtained in actual trials. Defendants are judged more harshly when the victim is White and more leniently when the victim is Black (Foley & Rasche, 1979; Johnson, 1970; Wolfgang & Reidel, 1973).
Pfeifer and Ogloff (1991) argue that results from much of the research performed with mock juries are not comparable to actual juror decisions. They assert that in the absence of legally relevant variables, such as deliberations and jury instructions, mock jury results are not directly applicable to the judicial system. Pfeifer and Ogloff conducted an experiment in which half of the participants received jury instructions specifying the conditions under which the defendant should be found guilty. The other half received no instructions. Interestingly, no effects for race were found when participants were given jury instructions. Significant differences in the judgments of the “no instructions” group were found, however. These results followed the pattern of earlier mock jury studies, demonstrating a significant tendency to perceive a Black defendant as guiltier when the victim was White than when the victim was Black.
In addition to enhancing the external validity of mock jury studies, jury instructions reduce situational ambiguity by outlining for jurors exactly what is expected of them. Reduced situational ambiguity, in turn, reduces the effect of individual differences such as prejudice (Pfeifer & Ogloff, 1991) and discriminatory behavior (Pfeifer, 1990). Just as the law differentiates bias from action, psychologists distinguish attitudes and behavior. Thus, the final jury instructions read to jurors in Florida civil cases, “You are not to be swayed from the performance of your duty by prejudice, sympathy, or any other sentiment, for or against, any party” is used to reduce the likelihood that individual prejudicial attitudes will play a significant role in juror deliberations and final verdict.
The present study varied the race of the victim via photographs of a White or Black woman. Because the majority of participants would be White, it was predicted that juries who viewed the photograph of the White woman would assign a lower percentage of fault and award higher monetary damages to her than juries who viewed the photograph of the Black woman.
We hypothesized that:
1. Juries would attribute less responsibility to the White victim than to the Black Victim.
2. Juries would award more monetary damages to the White victim than to the Black victim.
3. Black respondents would award more monetary damages to the Black victim and attribute less responsibility to her.
4. White respondents would award more monetary damages to the White victim and attribute less responsibility to her.
Universal Orientation
Most research on differential treatment of defendants and victims based on race has been focused on determining whether the mock jurors, who were charged with making the decisions, were prejudiced. There have been few studies of the effects of non-prejudice on decision making. The Universal Orientation Scale was developed to measure non-prejudice. “Non-prejudice is defined as a universal orientation in interpersonal relations whereby the actors selectively attend to the similarities between the self and other rather than the differences between the self and the other” (Phillips, Dunlap, & Ziller, 1995, p. 3). The Universal Orientation Scale measures respondents’ views of other people which are inclusive rather than exclusive. Because there are no items which directly refer to race or ethnicity, it has the added advantage of not being transparent as are many measures of prejudice.
Research on the Universal Orientation Scale (UOS) has found that students who have a universal orientation view themselves as more similar to other students, minority and non-minority alike, while students with a low universal orientation view themselves as more different from other students, especially minority students (Phillips, et al., 1995) In other research on universal orientation (Phillips, et al., 1995), persons with a high universal orientation expressed no discrimination in choice of work partners based on ethnicity, while persons with low universal orientation scores preferred non-minority students to minority students as work partners. In another study, results indicated that participants scoring in the highest quartile on universal orientation found people who were members of minority groups to be more representative of humankind and more attractive than did those who were in the lowest quartile on the USO (Phillips, et al., 1995) Based on this research, it was hypothesized that:
5. Mock jurors who have a high universal orientation would be less likely to discriminate on the basis of race when attributing fault and awarding monetary damages to the plaintiff in this case. In contrast, people who do not have a universal orientation would be more likely to discriminate on the basis of race.
Legal Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is one of the most frequently measured juror characteristics. In general, authoritarian jurors are more punitive and thus, tend to favor the prosecution in their verdicts (Kassin & Wrightsman, 1983; McGowan & King, 1982).
Although most researchers have found authoritarianism to be positively correlated with punitiveness toward the defendant, this finding is not consistently observed (e.g., Sealy, 1981). Mitchell and Byrne (1973) found that authoritarians were more affected by extralegal factors, such as the defendant’s characteristics, than were egalitarians. Mitchell and Byrne’s (1973) study showed that, while jurors high in authoritarianism were more likely to find the defendant guilty and to sentence him more severely, if authoritarian jurors were similar to the defendant, they were biased in his favor. In addition, Kassin and Wrightsman (1983) found authoritarian jurors to be less punitive toward the defendant when the defendant was an authority figure or when the crime pertained to obedience to authority.
Authoritarianism has also been shown to be related to negative views of rape victims, such as expressions of low empathy for the victim (Weir & Wrightsman, 1990). This study revealed that females had more empathy for the rape victim and thus made better plaintiff’s jurors (see also Barnett, Quackenbush, Sinisi, Wegman, & Otney, 1992). Because authoritarians tend to respond with personal hostility toward lower status persons (Boehm, 1968), it is not surprising that a relationship exists between authoritarianism and negative attitudes toward rape victims. If rape victims are perceived as low status, it follows that they will be derogated by jurors who are high in authoritarianism.
6. It was hypothesized that jurors high in legal authoritarianism would hold the plaintiff more responsible for the rape by assigning a greater percentage of fault to her. This finding was predicted based on the authority figure status of the defendant (the apartment owner/manager) and the relative difference in the plaintiff’s and defendant’s status, especially as their status related to ability to control the situation (the plaintiff was described as a tenant in the defendant’s apartment building).
Just World
Lerner’s just world theory (1970, 1980) proposes that people view the world as a just place. Victimization does not follow the rules of a just world; sometimes innocent and good people are victimized. However, people vary in their level of belief in a just world. Those individuals with a high belief in a just world think that when people are good and kind, good things happen to them. By the same token, when bad things happen to a person, people with a just world view believe that it is because that person has done something to deserve it. People with a high belief in a just world think that events are just and fair. When something bad happens to someone who is good, people’s belief in a just world is challenged. Belief in a just world can be restored by attributing blame to the victim or reducing the victim’s suffering. Kleinke and Meyer (1990, p. 344) argue that “since it is not possible to reverse a crime of rape, rape victims are subject to derogation. However, when observers identify with a victim by recognizing a common vulnerability, they are likely to respond with empathy rather than derogation” (Lerner & Miller, 1978).
Kleinke and Meyer (1990) found that women (because they are more likely to experience a common vulnerability with a rape victim) were less likely to blame the rape victim for the rape. In addition, “women with a high belief in a just world derogated the rape victim less than women with a low belief in a just world” (p.350). The authors explained this reaction by pointing out that, because women are more likely to identify with a rape victim than men, they are less likely to blame the rape on her character. They went on to say that women who believe that “people get what they deserve” and who also identify with a rape victim have a great deal of difficulty reconciling their belief in a just world with the rape. Therefore, “these women are especially reluctant to derogate a rape victim for a negative experience that could also happen to them” (Kleinke & Meyer, 1990, p.350). In contrast, men with a high belief in a just world evaluated the crime as more serious and the rape victim as more responsible than men with a low belief in a just world. Apparently, men with a high belief in a just world saw the incident as a challenge to their belief in a just world (Kleinke & Meyer, 1990).
We hypothesized:
7. Men will attribute more responsibility to the victim and award less monetary damages than women.
8. Men with a high belief in a just world will attribute more responsibility to the victim and award less monetary damages than men with a low belief in a just world.
9. Women with a high belief in a just world will attribute less responsibility to the victim and award more monetary damages than women with a low belief in a just world.
Locus of Control
Locus of control has not been widely investigated in terms of its relationship to attitudes toward rape. Barnett and colleagues (1992) found that research participants generally perceived rape as due to factors outside a victim’s control, but that men were more likely than women to attribute rape to chance (among other variables). One study in which the relationship between locus of control and verdict in a rape case was examined in detail found no relationship between locus of control and verdict (Villenur & Hyde, 1983). The absence of a relationship was explained by postulating that locus of control will be mediated by whether one identifies with the plaintiff or defendant. Thus, a juror with an external locus of control who identifies with the plaintiff will be less likely to hold the plaintiff responsible. On the other hand, those jurors with an external locus of control who identify with the defendant will hold the plaintiff more responsible. Identification with plaintiff or defendant in the present study is expected to be based on the gender of the juror. For this reason, it was predicted that females would be more likely to identify with the female plaintiff and that males would be more likely to identify with the male defendant. Thus, internal – external locus of control was expected to be differentially related to verdict dependent on juror gender.
We hypothesized that:
10. Women with an external locus of control would hold the plaintiff as less responsible than men with an external locus of control.
Civil Rape
There has been considerable research on factors affecting mock jurors’ reactions to victims and rapists in simulated criminal cases. These studies have focused on examinations of victim characteristics, rapists’ characteristics, the relationship between victim and rapist, and mock juror characteristics (Kleinke and Meyer, 1990). In general, this research has shown that victim and defendant characteristics are more important than other factors in determinations of guilt.
Given the increasing tendency of victims to pursue parallel legal actions in criminal and civil courts, we chose to assess the effects of independent and predictor variables within the context of a civil trial. The legal basis of the victim’s claim was that the defendant, the owner/manager of her apartment complex, failed to provide a safe place for her (the tenant) to live. Utilizing a civil case allowed us to have two measures relating to verdict, judgments of liability and assessments of monetary damages, as well as to compare the results of our work with those from the numerous studies conducted on criminal cases. We predicted that, in general, mock jurors’ decisions would be affected by independent and predictor variables in the same way that these variables affect judgments of culpability on the part of a criminal defendant. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to measure these interrelationships within the context of a civil rape trial based on the legal theory of premises liability.

Methods
Participants
Eighty-seven of the mock jurors were students in Introductory Psychology at a mid-sized university in the southeast who volunteered as one option for obtaining course credit. The participants varied in age from 17 to 47 with a mean age of 19.8 and a modal age of 18. Most participants were White(n=54), although some were Black(n=13), Hispanic (n=7), Asian(n=7), and other(n=5). The remaining mock jurors (N=103) were jury eligible residents of the same state who had been recruited for participation as mock jurors in various counties in that state. These participants varied in age from 19 to 84 (M=47.8), with the ages evenly distributed across the range. Most participants were White (n=82), although some were Black (n=17), Hispanic (n=3), and other (n=1). These participants were paid for their participation.
Design
The study was a 2 (race of stimulus person: Black or White) by 2 (age of stimulus person: old or young) factorial design with both factors serving as between-subject factors. Predictor variables were legal authoritarianism (Cutler, Moran and Narby, 1992), belief in a just world (Rubin & Peplau, 1975), locus of control (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973), universal orientation (Ziller & Clark, 1987), and respondent demographics. Individual dependent measures were percentage of responsibility attributed to the plaintiff (stimulus person), percentage of responsibility attributed to the defendant, and monetary damages awarded to the plaintiff. These measures were made before and after group deliberations. Group dependent measures were percentage of responsibility attributed to the plaintiff, percentage of responsibility attributed to the defendant, and monetary damages awarded to the plaintiff.
Procedures
Participants came to a conference room in groups of five to ten, were informed about the study, and asked to fill out and sign a consent form. Participants then filled out the demographic questionnaire, Legal Authoritarianism Scale, the Universal Orientation Scale, the Internal External Locus of Control Scale, and the Just World Scale. When all participants had completed the questionnaires, the experimenter showed them a photograph of the stimulus person (plaintiff) and played a taped description of the facts of a civil case and the jury instructions. The case involved a rape victim who sued the owner/manager of the apartment complex where she was raped for damages she sustained. The case description was identical for all mock juries. However, each group saw one of four photographs of the victim which were randomly assigned by group. The participants were then asked to indicate, on an individual basis, the amount of responsibility that the apartment owner/manager and victim had for the sexual assault. It was explained that the total amount of responsibility for both parties had to equal 100%. Participants then were asked to determine what monetary damages the victim should be awarded. Finally, they were asked to rate their level of confidence in the accuracy of their decisions.
Next, participants were asked to form a jury, select a foreperson, deliberate, and come to a consensus concerning the responsibility of the defendant and the plaintiff and the amount to be awarded to the plaintiff. The foreperson of the jury wrote the group decision on a verdict form. When a verdict was reached, participants were asked to indicate, again, their individual opinion about the responsibility of the defendant and the plaintiff, the amount of money that the plaintiff should receive in damages, and their degree of confidence in their decision. They were also asked to rate the influence of every other mock juror on their decision.
Stimulus Person
The stimulus person was a woman. A photograph of a young, White woman was changed by a graphic artist using a computer program. The artist computer-generated four photographs: a young White woman, an old White woman, a young Black woman, and an old Black woman. The photographs were identical except for slight adjustment in the lips and nose of the Black women to make them more authentic and the aging of the features for the older women. Measures
Demographic Variables. All respondents completed a brief demographic questionnaire that measured the following characteristics: age, gender, education, political orientation, ethnicity, marital status, number of children, employment status, student status, occupation, spouse’s occupation (if applicable) and crime victimization.
Legal Authoritarianism. All participants completed the Legal Authoritarianism Questionnaire (LAQ) developed by Boehm (1968). The LAQ, a 30 – item scale, measures respondents’ attitudes on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The form of the LAQ used in the current study is a revised version of the original scale where higher scores are indicative of legal authoritarianism (see Cutler, Moran and Narby, 1992; Moran & Comfort, 1982).
Just World Scale. The Just World Scale (Rubin & Peplau, 1975) was completed by all participants. The Just World Scale measured responses to 20 items on a 6 – point Likert scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Higher scores indicate greater belief in a just world.
Locus of Control. The Adult Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale (I-E) was completed by all participants (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The I-E, a 40 – item scale, measures attitudes with “yes” or “no” responses. Higher scores are indicative of an external locus of control.
Universal Orientation Scale. All respondents completed the Universal Orientation Scale (UOS) developed by Ziller and Clark (1987). The UOS measures responses to 21 items on a 5 – point Likert scale ranging from 1 (does not describe me) to 5 (describes me very well). Higher scores indicate a more universal orientation.

Results
Group Decisions
A MANOVA was run with the type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), race of the victim (Black or White), and age of the victim (old or young) as the independent variables and the group decisions on the amount of responsibility of the victim and the amount awarded to her as the dependent variables. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant main effect for the type of mock juror (F (2, 181) = 10.61, p < .0001), race of the victim (F (2, 181) = 6.01, p < .003), and age of the victim (F (2, 181) = 9.03, p < .0001). Follow-up univariate F tests found that all three variables had a significant effect on the amount of award and that the type of mock juror also had a significant effect on the responsibility of the plaintiff (see Table 1). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant two-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by race of the victim (F (2, 181) = 13.66, p < .0001) and for race of the victim by age of the victim (F (2, 181) = 49.46, p < .0001).
Follow-up univariate F tests showed that both interactions had a significant effect on the amount of award and the responsibility of the plaintiff (see Tables 2 and 3). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by race of the victim by age of the victim (F (2, 181) = 3.77, p < .025). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the amount of award and a borderline effect on the responsibility of the plaintiff (see Tables 4 and 5).
Individual Decisions
Mock jurors who belonged to racial groups other than Black or White were eliminated for a second analysis. A MANOVA was run with type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), race of the victim (Black or White), age of the victim (old or young) and race of the mock juror (Black or White) as the independent variables and the individual pre and postdeliberation decisions concerning the amount of responsibility of the victim and the amount awarded to her as the dependent variables. Individual decisions were truncated at 3.5 S.D. above and below the mean. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant main effect for type of mock juror (F (4, 140) = 2.93, p < .023), race of the mock juror (F (4, 140) = 2.38, p < .054), and age of the victim (F (4,140) = 3.16, p < .016).
Follow-up univariate F tests found that all three variables had a significant effect on the amount of award after deliberations (see Table 6). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant two-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by race of the victim (F (4,149) = 5.21, p < .001), for type of mock juror by race of the mock juror (F (4,140) = 4.68, p < .001), for race of the victim by age of the victim (F (4,140) = 10,57, p < .0001), and for race of the victim by race of the mock juror (F (4,140) = 4.52, p < .002). Follow-up univariate F tests found that each interaction had a significant effect on the amount of postdeliberations award (See Tables 7 and 8). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by the race of victim by age of the victim (F (4,149) = 3.56, p < .008) and for type of mock juror by race of the victim by race of the mock juror (F (4,140) = 3.83, p < .006). Follow-up univariate F tests found that each interaction had a significant effect on the amount of postdeliberations award (See Tables 9 and 10).
Universal Orientation
A MANOVA was run with type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), race of mock juror (Black or White), race of the victim (Black or White), and level of the jurors’ universal orientation (high or low) as the independent variables and the individual (truncated) pre and postdeliberations decisions concerning the amount of responsibility of the victim and amount of award as the dependent variables. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant interaction effect for universal orientation by race of the mock juror (F (4, 65) = 4.57, p < .003).
Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations awards (See Table 13). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for race of the victim by race of the mock juror by universal orientation (F (4, 65) = 3.52, p < .011). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations responsibility of the plaintiff and awards (see Table 14). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant four-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by race of the victim by the race of the mock juror by universal orientation (F (4, 65) = 3.85, p < .007). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations awards and the postdeliberations responsibility of the plaintiff (see Tables 15 and 16).
Legal Authoritarianism
A MANOVA was run with type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), race of mock juror (Black or White), race of the victim (Black or White), and level of the respondents’ legal authoritarianism (high or low) as the independent variables and the individual (truncated) predeliberations and postdeliberation decisions concerning the amount of responsibility of the victim and amount of award as the dependent variables. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant interaction effect for legal authoritarianism by race of mock juror (F (4, 59) = 2.73, p < .037).
Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations responsibility (See Table 21). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by race of the mock juror by legal authoritarianism (F (4, 59) = 2.55, p < .048). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations responsibility of the plaintiff (see Table 22).
Belief in Just World
A MANOVA was run with type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), race of mock juror (Black or White), gender of the mock juror (male or female), and level of the jurors’ belief in a just world (high or low) as the independent variables and the individual (truncated) predeliberations and postdeliberation decisions concerning the amount of award and responsibility of the victim as the dependent variables. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant main effect for belief in a just world (F (4, 61) = 6.31, p < .0001).
Follow-up univariate F tests found that belief in a just world had a significant effect on predeliberations awards (F (1, 64) = 18.41, p < .0001) and predeliberations responsibility (F (1, 64) = 5.01, p < .029). People with a low belief in a just world attributed more responsibility (M= 13.0) and awarded less monetary damages (M=$290,044) than people with a high belief in a just world (M= 9.3; M=$329,732). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant two-way interaction effect for gender of participant by belief in a just world (F (4, 61) = 7.09, p < .0001). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on predeliberations award (see Table 17). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant two-way interaction effect for race of participant by belief in a just world (F (4, 61) = 11.52, p < .0001). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on predeliberations award and responsibility (see Tables 18). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by gender of the mock juror by belief in a just world (F (4,61) = 3.86, p < .007) and for race of mock juror by gender of the mock juror by belief in a just world (F (4. 61) = 8.83, p < .0001). Follow-up univariate F tests found that both interactions had a significant effect on the predeliberations responsibility of the plaintiff and the latter interaction had a significant effect on the predeliberations award (see Tables 19 and 20).
Locus of Control
A MANOVA was run with type of mock juror (university student or jury eligible citizen), gender of the mock juror, and level of the respondents’ internal-external locus of control (high or low) as the independent variables and the individual (truncated) predeliberations and postdeliberation decisions concerning the amount of responsibility of the victim as the dependent variables. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant main effect for gender of respondent (F (2, 85) = 3.87, p < .025).
Follow-up univariate F tests found that gender had a significant effect on both predeliberations (F (1, 86) = 3.88, p < .052) and postdeliberations (F (1, 86) = 7.52, p < .007) decisions concerning the amount of responsibility of the plaintiff. Women thought the plaintiff was less responsible than men did in both predeliberations (women: M=11.32, men: M=14.5) and postdeliberations (women: M=10.48, men: M=14.18) decisions. A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant two-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by internal-external locus of control (F (2, 85) = 3.81, p < .026). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on predeliberations perceptions of the responsibility of the plaintiff (see Table 11). A Hotelling’s trace evaluation indicated a significant three-way interaction effect for type of mock juror by gender of the mock juror by locus of control (F (2, 85) = 3.43, p < .037). Follow-up univariate F tests found that the interaction had a significant effect on the responsibility of the plaintiff (see Tables 12).

Discussion
Group Decisions
Because the majority of participants were White, the first two hypotheses predicted that mock juries would be biased against a Black victim. Specifically, we predicted that juries would attribute more responsibility to the Black victim and award her less damages than the White victim. There were no significant results for the responsibility prediction. Results for damages were just the opposite of what was predicted–Black victims were awarded significantly more money than White victims. However, the race of the victim interacted with the type of mock juror. In both instances, the university students followed the prediction, attributing more responsibility to the Black victim and awarding her less money than the White victim. In contrast, the jury eligible participants seemed to be biased in favor of the Black victim. Thus, it appears that only the university mock juries were more favorably predisposed toward members of the majority. Jury eligible participants demonstrated a tendency to give the benefit of the doubt to the minority victim, perhaps in a desire to make a public statement in order to “even the score” of disparate verdicts.
Individual Decisions
Analyses of the same decisions (responsibility and award) made by individual mock jurors allowed us to take into account the demographic characteristics of the participant, such as race, age, and type. All the analyses based on demographics had an effect on individual judgments after deliberations. The deliberations seemed to polarize respondents based on these characteristics. After deliberations, university students awarded more money to the victim than jury eligible citizens, and White respondents awarded more money than Black respondents. The differences between the two populations of mock jurors, thus, began to emerge after their final decision was made. It is possible that jury eligible citizens, as well as Blacks, are more conservative in their views toward spending “other people’s money”.
Both university students and jury eligible respondents gave more monetary damages to the Black victim than to the White victim when deciding individually. However, there was very little difference in amounts for university students. In contrast, jury eligible mock jurors gave less to the White victim than the university students and much more to the Black victim than the university students.
There was also an interaction between the type of mock juror and the race of mock juror. Black jury eligible citizens gave more money to the victim than White jury eligible participants and White university students gave more damages than Black students. There was not much difference in amount awarded by Black and White jury eligible citizens. However, White university students awarded more damages than jury eligible citizens and Black university students awarded less damages than jury eligible citizens.
There was a three-way interaction between type of mock juror, race of mock juror, and race of victim. Black university students awarded more damages (over twice as much) to the White victim than to the Black victim. In contrast, White university students awarded 3.4 times as much in damages to the Black victim as the White victim. Both Black and White jury eligible citizens awarded more monetary damages to the Black than to the White victim.
It is interesting that university students, on an individual basis after deliberations, indicated that they would give more money to the victim who was dissimilar to themselves. However, when they decided as a group, they actually gave more monetary damages to the White victim than to the Black victim. Because there were many more White students than Black students, one would expect the same results for White university students as for the group decisions. Perhaps they were willing to give less monetary damages to the Black while in a group, where they could attribute responsibility to the group decision and not assume it themselves. Or, perhaps they were trying to show that they themselves were not prejudiced by making their individual decisions after deliberations biased for Blacks.
Universal Orientation
The original hypothesis was that persons high in universal orientation would be less likely to discriminate based on race than those low in universal orientation. There was an interaction between the race of the participants and their level of universal orientation on the amount of money awarded. Black participants who were high in universal orientation (unprejudiced) awarded more damages (about three times as much) than those low in universal orientation. In contrast, Whites with a high universal orientation awarded less monetary damages than those with a low universal orientation.
There was a significant four-way interaction on the mean amount of predeliberations award for type of student, level of universal orientation, race of juror, and race of victim. Because there were so few Black participants in each cell with a four-way interaction, we will limit our discussion to White participants. There was very little difference in awards given to Black and White victims by high universal orientation participants from both university student and jury eligible participants. This result would tend to support the hypothesis that high universal orientation participants would not discriminate on the basis of race. In contrast, White university students gave more than twice as much in awards to the Black victim than to the White victim and jury eligible participants gave more awards to the White victim than to the Black victim.
A similar four way interaction effect on the level of responsibility of the victim did not support the hypotheses. Similarly, a three-way interaction effect on responsibility and amount of wards for universal orientation by race of juror by race of victim did not support the hypotheses.
Legal Authoritarianism
It was hypothesized that jurors high in legal authoritarianism would hold the plaintiff more responsible for the rape by assigning a greater percentage of fault to her. In predeliberation decisions, this hypothesis was supported, particularly for Black respondents. Black respondents who were high in authoritarianism attributed over three times the responsibility to the victim as White participants high in authoritarianism. Black participants who were low in authoritarianism attributed over twice the responsibility to the victim as Whites who were low in authoritarianism. This finding was particularly apparent in university students. Black university students with high authoritarianism attributed a huge amount of responsibility to the plaintiff (63%) compared to White university students with high authoritarianism (10.3%). Even Black university students with low authoritarianism attributed much more responsibility (27.7%) to the victim than did White university students with low authoritarianism (8.1%). Black jury eligible citizens reacted in the reverse direction; those low in authoritarianism attributed more responsibility to the victim than did those with high authoritarianism. White jury eligible citizens attributed little difference in responsibility whether they were high (6.8%) or low (6.2%) in authoritarianism.
Our hypothesis was based on the authority figure status of the defendant (the apartment owner/manager) and the relative difference in the plaintiff’s and defendant’s status, especially as their status related to the ability to control the situation,that is, the events leading up to the rape. Another reason for the prediction was that authoritarianism has been associated with negative views of rape victims, including feelings of low empathy for the victim (Weir & Wrightsman, 1990). One reason for the relationship between authoritarianism and negative attitudes toward rape victims is that authoritarians tend to respond with personal hostility toward lower status persons (Boehm, 1968). If rape victims are perceived as low status, it follows that they will be derogated by jurors who are high in authoritarianism.
Apparently, Blacks reacted more strongly to the case facts than Whites. Perhaps Black respondents were reacting to the larger arrest and incarceration rate of Blacks. Alternatively, it is possible that Black university students attributed considerable responsibility to the rape victim because Black men receive disproportionately large sanctions for committing rape. (No information was given regarding the defendant’s race or the race of the rapist, who was not a defendant in the civil case. Mock jurors did not discuss the race of either man in their deliberations, thus we do not know what race they assumed the men to be.)
Belief in Just World
As hypothesized, men attributed more responsibility to the victim than women in both the predeliberations decisions and the postdeliberations decisions. However, contrary to the hypothesis, there was no difference in monetary awards based on the gender of the juror. It appears that men identified with the apartment owner and women identified with the victim. Therefore, women attributed less responsibility to the victim for the rape than did men.
In general, people with a low belief in a just world attributed more responsibility and awarded less monetary damages to the victim than those with a high belief in a just world. This reaction was mediated by the gender of the participant. It was hypothesized that men with a high belief in a just world would attribute more responsibility to the victim and award less monetary damages than men with a low belief in a just world. There was no difference in monetary award for men based on their belief in a just world. However, this hypothesis was supported for university students; male students with a high belief in a just world attributed more responsibility to the victim than male students with a low belief in a just world in predeliberations decisions. In contrast, jury eligible men attributed more responsibility to the victim if they had a low belief in a just world than if they had a high belief in a just world.
It was further hypothesized that women with a high belief in a just world would attribute less responsibility to the victim and award more monetary damages than women with a low belief in a just world. Again, there was no difference in monetary damages depending on just world belief. However, the rest of the hypothesis was supported for university students; women with a high belief in a just world attributed less responsibility to the victim than women with a low belief in a just world in predeliberations decisions. Once again, jury eligible women reacted in the opposite direction.
There was a significant interaction of just world view and race of the respondent. However, because there were so few Black males in the population, it is not possible to draw conclusions based on their responses. Both Black and White females with a high belief in a just world attributed less responsibility to the victim than those with a low belief in a just world. White females with a high belief in a just world also awarded more monetary damages to the victim. Black females with a high belief in a just world awarded less monetary damages to the victim. White male respondents with a high belief in a just world, as predicted, attributed more responsibility to the victim and awarded her less money than those with a low belief in a just world.
Locus of Control
It was hypothesized that women with an external locus of control would perceive the plaintiff to be less responsible than men with an external locus of control. This result was strongly supported for university students (men, M=33.29; women, M=12.81). However, the results were in the opposite direction for jury eligible participants (men, M=6.11; women, M=10.57).
The reasoning behind the hypothesis was that a juror with an external locus of control who identified with the plaintiff would hold the plaintiff less responsible. On the other hand, those jurors with an external locus of control who identified with the defendant were expected to hold the plaintiff more responsible. It appears that both the female university students and the female jury eligible citizens strongly identified with the plaintiff and thus attributed little responsibility to her. The jury eligible men attributed the least amount of responsibility to the victim. The people who reacted quite differently were the male university students, attributing more than twice the amount of responsibility to the victim as any other category of participant. Apparently, they identified more with the apartment owner than with the victim.
It was not expected that jury eligible men with an external locus of control would attribute so little responsibility to the victim. It would seem more plausible for them to identify with the owner of the apartment complex, given that he was male, than to identify with the female victim. It was the male jury eligible citizens with an internal locus of control who attributed more responsibility to the victim (M=17.8). It would appear that, in general, the male jury eligible citizens were identifying with the female victim. When they had an internal locus of control, they blamed the victim and when they had an external locus of control, they blamed the apartment owner. Perhaps, because the male jury eligible participants were older than the university students and most had children (66%, compared to only two male university students with children), they were reacting as fathers. They did not identify with the apartment owner, but rather, with the (young) victim who could be their daughter. In contrast, the university men might be reacting as potential boyfriends of the (young) victim rather than identifying with the apartment owner.
Overall Effects
Interestingly, personality characteristics had no predictive value for post deliberations decisions. Personality variables only had an impact on the initial decisions, those made by jurors before deliberations. By the time postdeliberation decisions were made, differences based on personality characteristics had disappeared. It appears that deliberations eliminated the impact of personality variables on decisions. Perhaps in the process of defending their positions, verbalizing their own attitudes and feelings, and arguing for their positions, mock jurors had to make more rational decisions. They no longer were as influenced by personal attributes as they were by the case facts. The presentation of the case facts was both compelling and believable, leading mock jurors to deliberate in a rather heated fashion.
It is noteworthy that the defendant was held almost totally at fault for the victim’s rape. Thus, it appears that the mock jurors blamed him for starting a chain of events which culminated in a serious crime. It is apparent that deliberations eliminated some of the influence of personality variables. Perhaps other studies of jury decision making which did not involve group based deliberations were not eliminating people’s personal biases. It seems that mock jurors need to deliberate to bring the issues of the case to the surface in order to be sure that their personal values and attitudes do not impact their decisions.
One of the most interesting, yet disturbing, findings that emerged from the research is that the personality variables predicted the behavior of university students, but not that of jury eligible citizens. Obviously, psychologists have typically studied university students and have based their conclusions on students’ behavior. Many of the personality instruments in common use have been normed on university students. Our research indicates the necessity of reevaluating these instruments on a non-academic population so that they will be more utilitarian in real world situations. Only then will jury researchers be confident that their findings from simulated trials are applicable to the courtroom context. Table 1

Mean Amounts for Group Decisions on Award and Responsibility of Victims Based on Type of Mock Juror, Race of Victim, and Age of Victim
———————————————————————————————————————-
Type of Mock Juror
————————————————————
University Student Jury Eligible
———————————————————————————————————————-
Amount of Award $316,379 $385,922 ***
(n=87) (n=103) Responsibility of Victim 13.7 10.6 **
(n=87) (n=103)
———————————————————————————————————————-
Race of Victim
————————————————————
Black White
———————————————————————————————————————-
Amount of Award $409,226 $310,377 ***
(n=84) (n=106)
———————————————————————————————————————-

Age of Victim
————————————————————
Old Young
———————————————————————————————————————-
Amount of Award $304,292 $408,241 *
(n=99) (n=91)
____________________________________________________________________________
*p<.0001, **p<.001,***p<.002.
Table 2

Mean Amounts for Group Decisions on Award* and Responsibility of Victim* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Amount of Award
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
Black $304,375 $504,545
(n=40) (n=44)
White $326,595 $297,457
(n=47) (n=59)
——————————————————————————————————————Responsibility of Victim
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
Black 15.00 7.27 (n=40) (n=44)
White 12.59 13.09
(n=47) (n=59)
——————————————————————————————————————
*p < .0001 Table 3

Mean Amounts for Group Decisions on Award* and Responsibility of Victim** Based on Race of Victim by Age of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Amount of Award
Age of Victim
———————————————————–
Old Young
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
Black $195,732 $612,791
(n=41) (n=43)
White $381,035 $225,000
(n=58) (n=48)
——————————————————————————————————————Responsibility of Victim
Age of Victim
———————————————————–
Old Young
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
Black 12.68 9.30 (n=41) (n=43)
White 12.10 13.79
(n=58) (n=48)
——————————————————————————————————————
*p < .0001, **p < .015. Table 4

Mean Amounts for Group Decisions on Award* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Age of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Victim
Old Victim $69,737 $304,545
(n=19) (n=22)
Young Victim $526,666 $704,545
(n=21) (n=22)
White Victim
Old Victim $448,077 $326562 (n=26) (n=32)
Young Victim $176,191 $262,963
(n=21) (n=27)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .039
Table 5

Means for Group Decisions on Responsibility of Victim* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Age of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Victim
Old Victim 18.42 7.72
(n=19) (n=22)
Young Victim 11.91 6.82
(n=21) (n=22)
White Victim
Old Victim 11.23 12.81 (n=26) (n=32)
Young Victim 14.29 13.41
(n=21) (n=27)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .077 Table 6
Mean Amounts of Postdeliberations Award Based on Type of Mock Juror, Race of Mock Juror, and Age of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Amount of Award $402,963 $378,816 *
(n=65) (n=95)
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Mock Juror
————————————————————
Black White
——————————————————————————————————————
Amount of Award $340,000 $399,847 ***
(n=30) (n=130)
——————————————————————————————————————Age of Victim
———————————————————-Old Young
——————————————————————————————————————
Amount of Award $338,517 $403,917 **
(n=96) (n=90)
____________________________________________________________________________
*p<.001, **p<.003,***p<.009. Table 7

Mean Amounts of Post Deliberations Award Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim* and Type of Mock Juror by Race of Mock Juror *
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
Black $364,689 $554,032
(n=40) (n=40)
White $335,638 $276,716
(n=47) (n=59)
____________________________________________________________________________
Race of Mock Juror
Black $242,307 $414,705
(n=13) (n=17)
White $443,126 $370,995
(n=52) (n=78)
____________________________________________________________________________
* p < .0001
Table 8

Mean Amounts of Post Deliberations Award Based on Race of Victim by Age of Victim* and Race of Victim by Race of Mock Juror **
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Victim
———————————————————–
Black White
——————————————————————————————————————
Age of Victim
Old $338,126 $366,691
(n=26) (n=54)
Young $648,988 $222,674
(n=37) (n=43)
____________________________________________________________________________
Race of Mock Juror
Black $358,000 $334,210
(n=11) (n=19)
White $556,804 $295,209
(n=52) (n=78)
____________________________________________________________________________
* p < .0001, ** p < .001.
Table 9
Mean Amounts of Postdeliberations Award* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Age of Victim
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Victim
Old Victim $198,489 $382,895
(n=19) (n=19)
Young Victim $515,061 $708,870
(n=21) (n=21)
White Victim
Old Victim $466,346 $291,447 (n=26) (n=32)
Young Victim $173,809 $259,259
(n=21) (n=27)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .001 Table 10

Mean Amounts of Postdeliberations Award* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Race of Mock Jurors *
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Victim
Black Mock Juror $141,667 $600,000
(n=6) (n=5)
White Mock Juror $594,346 $535,190
(n=19) (n=33)
White Victim
Black Mock Juror $328,571 $337,500
(n=7) (n=12)
White Mock Juror $173,809 $250,584
(n=21) (n=45)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .0001

Table 11

Mean Amounts of Responsibility of Victim in Predeliberations Based on Type of Mock Juror by Locus of Control
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Internal 10.45 11.54
(n=20) (n=28)
External 19.04 8.83
(n=23) (n=23)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .011. Table 12

Mean Amounts of Responsibility of Victim in Predeliberations Based on Type of Mock Juror by Locus of Control by Gender of Mock Juror
——————————————————————————————————————
Type of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
University Student Jury Eligible
——————————————————————————————————————
Internal
Males 10.67 17.8
(n=6) (n=10)
Females 10.36 8.06
(n=14) (n=18)
External
Males 33.29 6.11
(n=7) (n=9)
Females 12.81 10.57
(n=16) (n=14)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .011.
Table 13

Mean Amounts for Predeliberations Award* Based on Race of the Mock Juror by Universal Orientation
——————————————————————————————————————
Universal Orientation
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Mock Jurors
Black $215,750 $661,992
(n=12) (n=9)
White $564,722 $334,000
(n=33) (n=32)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .001. Table 14

Mean Amounts of Responsibility* of Victim and Award ** in Predeliberations Based on Race of Victim by Race of Mock Juror by Universal Orientation
——————————————————————————————————————
Universal Orientation
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim 34.2 6.67
(n=5) (n=3)
White Victim 16.14 21.33
(n=7) (n=6)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim 5.67 13.0
(n=15) (n=14)
White Victim 11.28 7.37
(n=18) (n=19)
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim $342,800 $1,415,975
(n=5) (n=3)
White Victim $125,000 $285,000
(n=7) (n=6)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim $601,195 $308,923
(n=15) (n=13)
White Victim $534,329 $351,158
(n=18) (n=19)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .016. Table 15

Mean Amounts of Postdeliberations Responsibility* Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Race of Mock Juror by Universal Orientation
——————————————————————————————————————
Universal Orientation
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
University Students
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim 11.67 20.0
(n=3) (n=1)
White Victim 16.67 7.5
(n=3) (n=2)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim 12.5 10.17
(n=4) (n=6)
White Victim 8.5 7.50
(n=8) (n=6)
——————————————————————————————————————
Jury Eligible
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim 12.50 5.0
(n=2) (n=2)
White Victim 7.5 22.25
(n=4) (n=4)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim 7.22 8.75
(n=9) (n=8)
White Victim 10.6 12.0
(n=10) (n=13)
—————————————————————————————————————–
* p < .042. Table 16

Mean Amounts of Predeliberations Award * Based on Type of Mock Juror by Race of Victim by Race of Mock Juror by Universal Orientation
——————————————————————————————————————
Universal Orientation
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
University Students
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim $71,333 $1,199,308
(n=3) (n=1)
White Victim $58,333 $300,000
(n=3) (n=2)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim $804,481 $302,667
(n=4) (n=6)
White Victim $339,375 $320,333
(n=8) (n=6)
——————————————————————————————————————
Jury Eligible
Black Mock Jurors
Black Victim $750,000 $625,000
(n=2) (n=2)
White Victim $175,000 $277,500
(n=4) (n=4)
White Mock Jurors
Black Victim $527,272 $314,286
(n=11) (n=7)
White Victim $690,293 $365,385
(n=10) (n=13)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .004. Table 17

Mean Amounts of Predeliberations Award Based on Gender of Mock Juror by Belief in a Just World
——————————————————————————————————————
Gender of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
Male Female
——————————————————————————————————————
Belief in a Just World
High $401,642 $286,071
(n=17) (n=28)
Low $355,833 $247,750
(n=18) (n=28)
——————————————————————————————————————p < .0001

Table 18

Mean Amounts of Predeliberations Award* and Responsibility* Based on Race of Mock Juror by Belief in a Just World
——————————————————————————————————————
Award
Race of Mock Juror
———————————————————–
Black White
——————————————————————————————————————
Belief in a Just World
High $612,560 $310,909
(n=7) (n=33)
Low 258,667 $341,607
(n=12) (n=28)
——————————————————————————————————————
Responsibility
High 14.43 9.09
(n=7) (n=34)
Low 23.00 8.21
(n=12) (n=28)——————————————————————————————————————p < .0001 Table 19

Mean Amount of Responsibility of Victim in Predeliberations Based on Gender of Mock Juror by Type of Mock Juror by Belief in a Just World
——————————————————————————————————————
Belief in Just World
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
University Mock Jurors
Male Mock Jurors 18.0 21.5
(n=7) (n=4)
Female Mock Jurors 12.9 5.75
(n=17) (n=12)
Jury Eligible Citizens
Male Mock Juror 13.36 7.5
(n=11) (n=14)
Female Mock Juror 9.36 10.5
(n=11) (n=16)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .002. Table 20

Mean Amounts of Responsibility of Victim* and Award** in Predeliberations Based on Gender of Mock Juror by Race of Mock Juror by Belief in a Just World
——————————————————————————————————————
Belief in Just World
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
Responsibility
Black Mock Jurors
Male Mock Jurors 34.5 10.0
(n=4) (n=1)
Female Mock Jurors 17.3 15.17
(n=8) (n=6)
White Mock Jurors
Male Mock Jurors 8.75 11.2
(n=12) (n=15)
Female Mock Jurors 7.81 7.42
(n=16) (n=19)
——————————————————————————————————————
Award
Belief in Just World
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
Black Mock Jurors
Male Mock Jurors $182,500 $2,997,925
(n=4) (n=1)
Female Mock Jurors $296,750 $215,000
(n=8) (n=6)
White Mock Jurors
Male Mock Jurors $464,583 $265,000
(n=12) (n=14)
Female Mock Jurors $249,375 $344,737
(n=16) (n=19)
——————————————————————————————————————
* p < .0001, ** p < .001. Table 21

Means for Predeliberations Responsibility Based on Race of Mock Juror by Legal Authoritarianism
—————————————————————————————————————–
Legal Authoritarianism
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
Race of Mock Jurors
Black 19 27.7
(n=7) (n=3)
White 7.1 8.0
(n=37) (n=31)
——————————————————————————————————————
p < .01

Table 22

Mean Amounts of Responsibility for Predeliberations Based on the Type of Mock Juror by the Race of Mock Juror by Legal Authoritarianism
—————————————————————————————————————–
Legal Authoritarianism
———————————————————–
Low High
——————————————————————————————————————
University Students
Race of Mock Jurors
Black 27.7 63
(n=3) (n=1)
White 8.1 10.3
(n=18) (n=11)
——————————————————————————————————————
Jury Eligible
Race of Mock Jurors
Black 12.5 10.0
(n=4) (n=2)
White 6.2 6.8
(n=19) (n=20)
——————————————————————————————————————
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