Sex, sexual orientation, and sexism: What influence do these factors have on verdicts in a crime-of-passion case?

Laurie Ragatz, Brenda Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the influence of defendant sex, sexual orientation, and participant sex on perceptions of a crime-of-passion. An online sample of 458 individuals read a scenario describing a homicide and provided judgments of verdict, sentence length, legal elements, and sexism. We hypothesized heterosexual female defendants would most likely receive a verdict of manslaughter, be found less guilty, and receive shorter sentences. We were also interested in whether benevolent sexism would contribute to defendant culpability decisions. Lastly, perceptions of legal elements for manslaughter (e.g., great provocation) and murder (e.g., intentionality of actions) were explored. Results demonstrated heterosexual female defendants were less guilty and received the shortest sentences. Also, heterosexual defendants were most likely to meet the manslaughter legal elements. Benevolent sexism contributed significantly to guilt perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-360
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Volume150
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

Keywords

  • mock-jury decisions
  • psychology and law
  • sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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