The Resource Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997

Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997

Label
Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997
Title
Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997
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Contributor
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Summary
The goal of this project was to investigate the effects of children's out-of-court hearsay statements on jurors' perceptions of witness credibility and defendant guilt. To accomplish this goal, three studies were conducted. The studies represented a series of increasingly ecologically valid investigations: mock jurors' perceptions of children's live and hearsay statements about a mock crime (Study 1), mock jurors' perceptions of real child sexual abuse victims' hearsay statements (Study 2), and actual jurors' perceptions of real child sexual abuse victims' hearsay statements (Study 3). In these contexts, "hearsay statements" are the repetition of a child's out-of-court statements in a court trial, either via a videotaped recording of the child's testimony in a forensic interview with a social worker or as described by an adult (the social worker or a police officer) who interviewed the child. The three studies permitted researchers to examine factors that jurors use to evaluate the reliability of children's hearsay evidence. The mock crime in Study 1 was touching the child on the stomach, nose, or neck. Jurors were instructed to consider those acts as if they were battery against a child. In Study 1, elaborate mock trials concerning the above mock crime were conducted under three trial conditions: (1) the child testified live in court, (2) a videotape of a simulated forensic interview with the child was presented, or (3) adult hearsay was presented (i.e., a social worker testified about what the child had said in the simulated forensic interview). A total of 370 mock jurors participated in Study 1, which was conducted in Sacramento County, California. In Study 2, videotapes of actual forensic interviews from real child sexual abuse cases were incorporated into mock trials instead of having live child testimony. The last two trial conditions in Study 2 were the same as those for Study 1, except that a police officer provided the adult hearsay testimony instead of a social worker. For Study 2, 170 mock jurors served on 15 main juries, which were held in Sacramento County, California. For both Studies 1 and 2, pre- and post-deliberation questionnaires were completed by mock jurors to ascertain their views on the credibility of the child and adult testimonies, the importance of various pieces of evidence, and the guilt of the defendant. Demographic questionnaires were also filled out before the mock trials. In Study 3, real jurors from actual child sexual abuse trials were surveyed regarding their judgments of child and adult testimonies. The three trial conditions that were present in Studies 1 and 2 (live child testimony, videotaped testimony, and adult hearsay testimony) were also experienced by the Study 3 participants. These jurors also indicated the importance of various types of evidence and provided demographic data. A total of 248 jurors representing 43 juries from Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, participated in Study 3. This collection includes aggregated data prepared from the Study 3 data to provide mean values for each of the 42 juries, as calculated from the individual juror responses. Data for one jury were eliminated from the aggregated data by the principal investigators. Variables from the demographic questionnaire for Studies 1 and 2 include trial condition, respondent's age, gender, marital status, occupation, ethnic background, religious orientation, and highest grade attained in school, if the respondent supported the death penalty, if the respondent was ever a victim of crime, number of children the respondent had, if the respondent was a United States citizen, if the respondent's native language was English, and if he or she had ever been a police officer, a convicted felon, a lawyer, or a judge. The pre-deliberation questionnaire for Study 1 asked jurors if they felt that the defendant was guilty, and how confident they were of the defendant's guilt or innocence. Jurors were also asked to assess the accuracy of various facts as given in the social worker's interview of the child and the child's statements in the taped interview, and what the likelihood was of the child's being influenced by the social worker, prosecutor, and/or defense attorney. Questions about the trial included the juror's assessment of the defendant, the social worker, and the research assistant. Jurors were also asked about the influence of various factors on their decisions regarding whether to believe the individuals in the case. Jurors' open-ended comments were coded on the most important factors in believing or doubting the child or the social worker, the most important evidence in the case, and whether anything could have been done to make the trial more fair. Post-deliberation questions in Study 1 included whether the defendant was guilty, how confident the juror was of the defendant's guilt or innocence regarding various charges in the case, and the final verdict of the jury. Questions similar to those in Study 1 were asked in the pre-deliberation questionnaire for Study 2, which also included respondents' opinions of the police officer, the mother, the doctor, and the use of anatomical dolls. The Study 2 post-deliberation questionnaire included questions on whether the defendant was guilty, how confident the juror was of the defendant's guilt or innocence, and the juror's assessment of the social worker's videotaped interview and the police officer's testimony. Variables from the Study 3 juror survey include the county/state where the trial was held, the juror's age, gender, ethnic background, and highest grade attained in school, if the juror supported the death penalty, if he or she was ever a victim of crime, and the amount of contact he or she had with children. Questions about the trial include the number of children the defendant was charged with abusing, the main child's age and gender, if a videotape was shown at trial, who interviewed the child on the videotape, the impact of seeing the videotape on the juror's decision to believe the child, the number of children who testified at the trial, and if the child was involved in a custody dispute. Additional questions focused on the defendant's relationship to the main child, who the first person was that the child told about the abuse, if the main child testified in court, the most important evidence in the case in the opinion of the juror, the jury's verdict, and how fair the juror considered the trial. Finally, jurors were asked about the influence of various factors on their decision to believe or doubt the individuals in the case. Data in Study 3 also include coded open-ended responses to several questions. Variables provided for the Study 3 aggregated data consist of the calculated mean values for each of the 42 juries for most of the variables in the Study 3 juror survey data
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
  • Goodman, Gail S
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Myers, John E.B.
Label
Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997
Instantiates
Publication
Note
  • 1994--1997
  • 2791
Control code
ICPSR02791.v1
Governing access note
Access restricted to subscribing institutions
Label
Children's Out-of-Court Statements: Effects of Hearsay on Jurors' Decisions in Sacramento County, California, and Maricopa County, Arizona, 1994-1997
Publication
Note
  • 1994--1997
  • 2791
Control code
ICPSR02791.v1
Governing access note
Access restricted to subscribing institutions

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