Jury Selection and Decision Making in Adult Victim Sexual Assault Cases

If you are being watched, leave now!

June 2011
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • National Judicial Education Program
  • Curriculum

Sexual assault trials with adult victims present a great challenge for judges. Research has shown that jurors in sexual assault cases assess the evidence presented through the lens of commonly held misconceptions and myths about rape, rape victims and rapists. Jurors, as members of our communities, embrace stereotypes about what constitutes “real rape,” including expectations about gender roles and “appropriate” behavior by victims before,during and after a reported sexual assault.

This curriculum explores the research on how juries decide sexual assault cases in which the victim is an adult. It looks at research using actual jurors, as well as mock jury studies. It also explores public opinion data about sexual assault. After learning about the current research, the judges are asked to explore and discuss their role in selecting a fair jury, protecting juror’s privacy, and minimizing jurors’ stress and trauma in these difficult cases.

Faculty Manual (PDF)

PowerPoint Slides with Suggested Commentary

The download link above will download the PDF version of this presentation. To download the PowerPoint file, click here.

Exercises

I've Got a Secret

Jury Selection

Post-Trial Juror Disclosure Hearing

Resources

The Jury Selection and Decision Making in Adult Victim Sexual Assault Cases topic module provides extensive resources that are intended to be distributed. This download contains a compilation of 10 resources that will be useful to anyone wanting more information about this topic. The resources are listed in an Annotated Table of Contents. Each citation is a hyperlink to the full text of the resource. Users do not need to be connected to the internet to link to these texts.

 Download Resources with Annotated Table of Contents (.zip) 

Jury Questionnaires Packet

Graphics for Reproducing this Module (.zip)