Religion as a defense in a mock-jury trial.

Johnson, S. D. (1985). Religion as a defense in a mock-jury trial. The Journal of Social Psychology, 125, 213-220. Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356 (1972).

Forty-nine residents of “Middletown” and 121 students in the roles of jurors viewed videotapes of an abbreviated child abuse trial, in which the accused was portrayed by a defense attorney as religious or in which his religious character was not used as a defense. Subjects in the former condition were more likely to convict and recommend longer sentences. There was some evidence to indicate further that religious jurors were even more severe in their judgments of the defendant when religion was used as a defense. More convictions and longer sentences after deliberation when defendant portrayed as religious; religious jurors tended to be harsher when religiosity of defendant noted. No impact of attorney sex on jury verdicts.