The Effects of Gender On Juror Decision Making

Open Access
Author:
Cipolla, Stephanie Marie
Area of Honors:
Sociology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John Henry Kramer, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jeffery Todd Ulmer, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • gender
  • jurors
  • jury
  • decision making
Abstract:
The research uses simulated juror decision making to determine the effects of gender on juror decision making with respect to verdicts and personal beliefs of guilt. Simulated jurors were asked to answer questions after reading four criminal trial scenarios including charges of homicide (manslaughter and murder), cyber stalking, rape, and possession of marijuana. Overall, the majorities of men and women’s verdicts and beliefs agreed. There was a difference however, in the percentages. Both women and men tended to be harsher in their judgments of the defendant if they were of the same gender. It is expected that those who believe the defendant to be guilty will convict and those who believe the defendant innocent will not convict. Men were more likely to fall outside this trend as outliers. Of those men who fell as outliers, more believed the defendant to be guilty but did not convict than those who believed the defendant was innocent but convicted. This suggests that men have higher standards of proof than women when deciphering the meaning of evidence in a trial as proof beyond a reasonable doubt.