Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effect Of Evidence Regarding Juvenile Competency On Jurors' Subsequent Verdicts
by Cordero, Ashley, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2015, 75; 3709709
Abstract (Summary)

Historically, juveniles have been viewed by society as less mature and less blameworthy than adults (Scott & Grisso, 1997). Since its inception, the juvenile justice system has taken on a parenting role for juveniles and has attempted to rehabilitate juvenile offenders instead of punishing them. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, as a result of a perceived increase in violent juvenile offending, American society began to treat juveniles as adults based on the severity of their crimes (Grisso, 1997). The current study examined whether evidence regarding a juvenile’s competence to stand trial and crime committed have an effect on potential jurors’ verdicts of guilty or not guilty. This study also examined the participants’ perceptions of a juvenile’s level of responsibility based on evidence regarding competency and crime outcome. Participants consisted of members of the general public who were jury-eligible. Participants received one of four randomly assigned vignettes varying only by competency to stand trial (not mentioned, incompetent and restored, or competent) and outcome of crime (death or serious injury). After reading a given vignette, participants were asked whether they would find the juvenile guilty or not guilty. They were also asked to rate the juvenile’s level of responsibility on a scale of 1 (not at all responsible) to 5 (very responsible). This study found that a juvenile’s competence to stand trial and the results of the crime committed (injury versus death) have no effect on potential jurors’ verdicts of guilty or not guilty. The results did suggest that the participants’ perceptions of a juvenile’s level of responsibility based on evidence impacts a verdict of guilty versus not guilty. Further, a competent juvenile who was found guilty of an offense resulting in death was found highly responsible for the act. In contrast, a juvenile who was not competent and was found not guilty of an offense resulting in death was perceived to be less responsible.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fass, Tracy L.
Commitee: Miora, Deborah S.
School: Alliant International University
Department: Los Angeles, CSFS
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Criminology
Keywords: Competency to stand trial, Crime outcome, Jurors' verdicts, Juvenile
Publication Number: 3709709
ISBN: 9781321853988
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