This study manipulated the race of the defendant and the victim (White/White, White/Asian, Asian/Asian, and Asian/White) in a domestic violence case to examine the potential prejudicial impact of race on juror decision making. A total of 181 undergraduate students read a trial transcript involving an allegation of spousal abuse in which defendant and victim race were manipulated using photographs. They then provided a verdict and confidence rating, a sentence, and responsibility attributions, and completed various scales measuring attitudes toward wife abuse and women. Findings revealed that female jurors were harsher toward the defendant than were male jurors. When controlling for attitudes toward Asians, jurors found the defendant guilty more often in cases involving interracial couples, as compared to same-race couples. Path analyses revealed various factors and attitudes involved in domestic violence trial outcomes. Findings contribute to the scarce literature on legal proceedings involving Asians, particularly in domestic violence cases. Outcomes also provide a model for relevant factors and characteristics of jurors in domestic violence cases. Roadblocks inherent in jury research are also discussed.
Analyses of fratricide rates based on national homicide data have provided some general information pertaining to offenders and victims of sibling homicide but are limited by data constraints to examining a few major variables. Exploring fratricide from a forensic psychiatric perspective could uncover other related factors and provide insight into why some individuals murder their siblings. In a retrospective study of data from coroners' files on domestic homicide pertaining to individuals killed by their siblings over a 10-year period in Quebec, Canada, we identified several specific offender and victim characteristics and circumstances surrounding offenses. The impact of mental illness and substance abuse on fratricidal behavior is indicated, underscoring the importance of identifying existing psychopathology. From a forensic psychiatric perspective, we identify characteristic patterns and discuss potential dynamics operating in fratricide. We raise some issues relevant to treatment and prevention, including the fact that most cases are alcohol-related, impulsive, and unpredictable until the moment they occur.
The purpose of this retrospective study was to illustrate the differences in maternal and paternal filicides in Finland during a 25-year period. In the sample of 200 filicides [neonaticides (n = 56), filicide-suicides (n = 75), other filicides (n = 69)], the incidence was 5.09 deaths per 100,000 live births: 59 percent of filicides were committed by mothers, 39 percent by fathers, and 2 percent by stepfathers. The mean age of the maternal victims (1.6 y) was significantly lower than that of the paternal victims (5.6 y), but no correlation between the sex of the victim and the sex of the perpetrator was found, and the number of female and male victims was equal. The sample of other filicides (n = 65) was studied more closely by forensic psychiatric examination and review of collateral files. Filicidal mothers showed mental distress and often had psychosocial stressors of marital discord and lack of support. They often killed for altruistic reasons and in association with suicide. Maternal perpetrators also dominated in filicide cases in which death was caused by a single episode or recurrent episodes of battering. Psychosis and psychotic depression were diagnosed in 51 percent of the maternal perpetrators, and 76 percent of the mothers were deemed not responsible for their actions by reason of insanity. Paternal perpetrators, on the other hand, were jealous of their mates, had a personality disorder (67%), abused alcohol (45%), or were violent toward their mates. In 18 percent of the cases, they were not held responsible for their actions by reason of insanity. During childhood, most of the perpetrators had endured emotional abuse from their parents or guardians, some of whom also engaged in alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between maternal and paternal filicides in a sample of 200 cases in Finland. This report also provides a psychosocial profile of the perpetrator and victim in 65 filicides and a discussion of the influence of diagnoses on decisions regarding criminal responsibility.
This study examined the factors associated with violent/aggressive behavior in stalkers using a sample of 100 Canadian cases of persons charged with criminal harassment (more commonly known as stalking). Results revealed that the typical profile of a "simple obsessional" type of stalker was a middle-aged male, single or separated/estranged, with a history of emotional and/or anger management problems. The most common initial strategies used by the victims to cope with the stalkers were oriented towards legal resources. Initial legal remedies, including court orders or police warnings, seemed to be ineffective as a strategy to stop stalking given that most stalkers chose to ignore them. The study also provided partial support for a preliminary model of predictors of violent/aggressive behavior in stalkers. Stalkers with previous violent behaviors, strong negative emotions. and obsessional tendencies toward the victim may be most at risk of future violent and aggressive acts.