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Not Guilty By Reason of Brain Injury: Perceptions of Guilt and Sentencing

Description: The current study investigated whether educating mock jurors about the post-injury consequences resulting from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) influenced their perceptions of morality, guilt, and sentencing in cases where the defendant has sustained a TBI. Participants read either an educational brochure about jury duty or a brochure about brain injury, and were then presented a mock trial transcript about either a defendant with severe, mild or no TBI on trial from the crime of voluntary manslaughter. Mock jurors who read the brochure about brain injury perceived the defendant less guilty and most deserving of a rehabilitation sentence. The results suggest that the mock jurors considered the brain injury and the post-injury consequences when deciding the perceived guilt and punishment of the crime. Thus, defense attorneys should provide extensive information about mental disorders to assure the most appropriate verdict is determined.

Suggested Citation:
St. Pierre, M.E., Parente, R. (2018). Not Guilty By Reason of Brain Injury: Perceptions of Guilt and Sentencing [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 14(1), 13.

Keywords: traumatic brain injury (TBI), jury perception, jury deliberation, criminality, misconceptions, forensic population

Date: Jul 26, 2018