Public confidence in the criminal justice system is critical for the system to function effectively. Two studies investigated the impact of jury sentencing recommendations on public confidence using procedural justice theory. The first study (N = 80) manipulated the presence of jury involvement in sentencing (voice present versus voice absent) and the punitiveness of the minimum non-parole period (more punitive versus less punitive) to examine whether giving juries a “voice”—a key element of procedural justice—would increase public confidence in the courts, as well as perceptions of fairness and legitimacy. Contrary to predictions, results revealed that a more punitive sentence led to increased perceptions of legitimacy, which was associated with higher confidence. The second study (N = 60) examined whether manipulating the Judge’s agreement with the jury’s recommendation—as well as the Judge’s reason for disagreement—would elicit the “frustration effect,” leading to a decrease in confidence and perceptions of fairness and legitimacy. There was no evidence to suggest that the frustration effect was present. Results of both studies could suggest that jury sentencing recommendations may not effectively increase public confidence and perceptions of fairness and legitimacy in the courts, however alternate explanations are discussed.
Investigating the Impact of Jury Sentencing Recommendations Using Procedural Justice Theory
Gianni Ribeiro is a PhD student at the School of Psychology, The University of Queensland. Her recent research focuses on jurors’ understanding and interpretation of forensic expert testimony. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gianni Ribeiro, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072. Email: email@example.com.
Emma Antrobus is a research fellow at the School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. She has a background in social psychology and has interests in the legitimacy of social agencies, crime prevention, and child protection. Her recent research focuses on randomized controlled trials examining the impact of police behavior and legitimacy, and interventions for young people at risk.
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Gianni Ribeiro, Emma Antrobus; Investigating the Impact of Jury Sentencing Recommendations Using Procedural Justice Theory. New Criminal Law Review 1 November 2017; 20 (4): 535–568. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2017.20.4.535
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