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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2008 Jan-Feb;31(1):41-50. Epub 2007 Dec 26.

Judgments of culpability in a filicide scenario.

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Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX 78041, USA.


Previous research has indicated that potential jurors are likely to use personal biases, such as those based on gender and ethnicity, in their judgments of culpability of criminal defendants in addition to, or instead of, the facts of the crime. The present paper seeks to extend this literature to the crime of filicide; to examine whether male defendants are judged more harshly than female defendants, as is the case for domestic violence and sexual abuse. 214 participants were provided with a scenario of filicide in which the gender of the perpetrator, the gender of the child, and the family's social class were randomly assigned. Participants were asked to rate the culpability of the defendant in the case. Results indicated that, unlike for other violent crimes, participants did not use gender or social class biases in their judgments of criminal culpability.

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