The Effect of Childhood Abuse and Expert Witness Testimony on Jurors in Rape Cases: A Cultural Comparison
Jia Jian Tin, Lissa H. Parker

James Q. Wilson (1997), in his book, criticized the United States (U.S.) courts for accepting the abuse excuse and claimed that it is a problem that plagues the court of law in other countries as well. The aim of the paper is to quantify the possible effect that abuse excuse and expert witnesses have on a jurors to test Wilson’s argument while observing if cultural differences play a role as well. The hypothesis of the study is that the abuse excuse alone would increase the likelihood of receiving a guilty verdict while those backed by an expert witness should have decreased likelihood. There would be no differences between the different qualifications of expert witnesses. To test the hypothesis, four different vignettes were created and distributed through the internet across the two nations. The results of the study indicate that the use of the excuse alone did increase the likelihood of receiving a guilty verdict, but the expert witness testimony had minimal effect. The cultural comparison reviews that Malaysians were not affected by the abuse excuse or the expert witness testimony unlike their American counterpart.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v4n1a3