Perceptions of domestic violence and Mock Jurors' sentencing decisions

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The purpose of the investigation was to examine the influence of the victim's provocation and hopefulness on the sentencing of a husband convicted of domestic violence. It was hypothesized that mock jurors would assign less-severe sentencing if the victim was provoking and hopeful. Mock jurors read one of four factorial court case combinations of provocation and hopefulness and rendered an individual predeliberation sentence and a group postdeliberation sentence. Analyses revealed a significant effect of provocation, indicating that participants reduced the sentencing for the defendant when the wife was provoking relative to when she was not provoking. The analyses also revealed an effect of gender on predeliberation sentencing, with women delivering more-severe sentences than men. The effect of gender was not present in the postdeliberation sentencing, indicating that deliberation produced a sentencing compromise between women and men. The implications of these findings are discussed. © 2007 Sage Publications.

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Journal of Interpersonal Violence