The Role of Individual Differences in Explaining the Acceptability of Prosecutorial Misconduct
Empirical evidence demonstrates that the inclusion of improper statements by the prosecutor during closing argument increases death penalty recommendations (Platania & Moran, 1999). Judicial instructions to disregard improper statements have been found to moderate this effect (Platania, Small, Fusco, Miller & Perrault, 2008). The present study further explored the effectiveness of judicial instruction as a legal safeguard and examined the role of individual differences in explaining individuals’ acceptance of prosecutorial misconduct. One hundred and twenty four jury-eligible individuals viewed a videotape based on the penalty phase of a capital trial (Brooks v. State, 1979). Results revealed that attitudes toward the death penalty, instruction comprehension and mood predict individuals’ acceptance of misconduct. Judicial instructions had limited effectiveness as a legal safeguard.
Rowback, Jillian, "The Role of Individual Differences in Explaining the Acceptability of Prosecutorial Misconduct" (2009). Psychology Theses. 3.