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The Impact of Negative Forensic Evidence on Mock Jurors' Perceptions of a Trial of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Gwen Jenkins and Regina A. Schuller
Law and Human Behavior
Vol. 31, No. 4 (Aug., 2007), pp. 369-380
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4499541
Page Count: 12
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The Impact of Negative Forensic Evidence on Mock Jurors' Perceptions of a Trial of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault
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Abstract

Legal concerns with regard to the adverse impact of a negative toxicological screening for date-rape drugs in a case of drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) were the focus of a recent Canadian case (R. v. Alouache, 2003). To assess the impact of a negative forensic report, as well as the impact of expert testimony explaining the many factors that may contribute to a negative outcome, participants (N = 171) received a written trial stimulus in which the forensic evidence (negative report, negative report plus expert testimony, no negative report and no expert testimony control) and the complainant's beverage consumption (alcohol, cola) were systematically varied. Results indicate that a negative finding in the absence of expert testimony produced greater verdict leniency and more favourable evaluations of the defendant's case. In contrast, no differences were found between the case in which the expert testified and a case in which the negative report and expert testimony were omitted.

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