Jurors' perception of violence: A framework for inquiry

Brian H. Bornstein, Robert J. Nemeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The impact that the perceived violence of a crime has on jury decision making has received much controversy lately. Violence may affect juries by how it is presented, as in the case of graphic evidence; its evidentiary purpose, as in establishing a history of violence in domestic abuse cases; and in sentencing, when the question of the heinousness of the crime is raised. Many judicial experts argue that evidence of violence may prejudice juries' verdicts. There is also concern within the legal community that what constitutes a heinous crime cannot be objectively determined. Psychological research has only just begun to explore these issues. This paper reviews the current legal state of these issues, the arguments and questions that have been raised within the legal community, and the empirical research that has been conducted thus far. The paper concludes with directions for future research that would improve our understanding of how jurors' perception of violence affects their decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Jurors' perception
  • Jury decision
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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