Witness Appeal - Shields and Video, Ross

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Aim
to find out if the use of protective shields and videotaped testimony increases the likeliness of a guilty verdict.
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Method
Mock trial based on a court transcript
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Participants
300 American Psychology students.
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Procedure
the participants watched a 2 hour film of an alleged case where a father was accused of abusing his child. A warning was given, directing the jury not to infer guilt. The participants were asked to reach a verdict and rate the credibility of both
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three conditions
the testimony was given with the child behind a screen, via video or in open court.
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Findings
there was no significant difference in guilty verdicts across the three groups, however, there was a significantly higher tendency for females to find the defendant guilty. Also females rated the defendants as being less credible.
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Conclusions
they concluded that when judges warning is given, there is no disadvantage to the defendant in the use of shields and videotape.
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Background
In many cases involving sexual abuse, kidnapping or domestic violence a child is the only witness. There are a number of difficulties with having a child appear in court as witnesses, such as: distress, suggestibility and legal requirement.
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Solution
One solution is to let the child be interviewed in another room. In the US, its more common to set up a screen for the child to sit behind. The screen is set up so that the child cannot see defendant but the defendant can see them.
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Card 2

Front

Method

Back

Mock trial based on a court transcript

Card 3

Front

Participants

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Procedure

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

three conditions

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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