Effects of the Dynamite Charge on the Deliberations of Deadlocked Mock Juries

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Abstract

When juries report that they are deadlocked, judges often deliver the dynamite charge, a supplemental instruction that urges jurors to rethink their views in an effort to reach a unanimous verdict. The present study evaluated the impact of this procedure on 378 subjects who participated in 63 deadlocked mock juries. Results indicated that the dynamite charge caused jurors in the voting minority to feel coerced and change their votes, reduced the pressure felt by those in the majority. and hastened the deliberation process in juries that favored conviction. These findings raise serious questions concerning the use of this controversial charge.

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