Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 212–226 | Cite as

The Effects of Rehabilitative Voir Dire on Juror Bias and Decision Making

  • Caroline B. Crocker
  • Margaret Bull Kovera
Original Article


During voir dire, judges frequently attempt to “rehabilitate” venirepersons who express an inability to be impartial. Venirepersons who agree to ignore their biases and base their verdict on the evidence and the law are eligible for jury service. In Experiment 1, biased and unbiased mock jurors participated in either a standard or rehabilitative voir dire conducted by a judge and watched a trial video. Rehabilitation influenced insanity defense attitudes and perceptions of the defendant’s mental state, and decreased scaled guilt judgments compared to standard questioning. Although rehabilitation is intended to correct for partiality among biased jurors, rehabilitation similarly influenced biased and unbiased jurors. Experiment 2 found that watching rehabilitation did not influence jurors’ perceptions of the judge’s personal beliefs about the case.


Jury selection Juror decision making Insanity defense 



This research was supported by grants from the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Society of Trial Consultants and funds from the Provost’s Office at John Jay College. Portions of this research were presented at the 2008 meetings of the American Psychology-Law Society in Jacksonville, FL. We would like to thank Brian Cutler for his suggestion to include the unbiased juror—rehabilitative questioning condition and to Michael Leippe and Steven Penrod for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal JusticeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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