Improving juror comprehension of judicial instructions on the entrapment defense

Dean Morier, Eugene Borgida, Roger C. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

When the defense of entrapment is raised, the legal and psychological question is not whether the defendant committed some illegal act, but rather why the defendant behaved as he or she did and whether government agents' actions provoked the defendant to commit the same crime. The subjective test of entrapment focuses on the predisposition of the defendant to commit a particular crime, while the objective test focuses on situational forces. In Study 1, type of entrapment defense (subjective, objective) and the defendant's prior record (no prior record, prior record) were experimentally manipulated. As expected, superior comprehension of the judge's instructions was found for jurors who heard subjective test instructions. Study 2 was designed to improve the comprehension and judgments of jurors who received 1 of 3 versions of the objective test. Juror comprehension of key legal concepts and subsequent judgments improved if jurors heard one of the rewritten versions of the objective test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1838-1866
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume26
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

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