Medication state at the time of the offense: Medication noncompliance, insight and criminal responsibility.

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Medication state at the time of the offense: Medication noncompliance, insight and criminal responsibility.

Behav Sci Law. 2018 May;36(3):339-357

Authors: Parrott CT, Jones MA, Brodsky SL, Shealy C

Abstract
This study used a mixed quantitative-qualitative methodology to examine whether mock jurors considered a defendant's meta-responsibility - specifically, the defendant's medication noncompliance and degree of insight into his/her schizophrenia - when determining the person's criminal responsibility. The degree of expert witness explanation regarding these factors was also varied. Participants (n = 173) were grouped into 30 juries, randomized across five conditions, and shown mock testimony and attorney arguments based on a real not guilty by reason of insanity court case. Linear mixed-modeling analysis showed that manipulations of medication compliance, insight, and expert testimony elaboration did not predict differential verdict and meta-responsibility outcomes. Nevertheless, qualitative exploration of focus groups from five juries (n = 29) indicated that participants across groups strongly considered meta-responsibility, but did so in a way that, along with a host of other considerations, suggested mock jurors were unable and/or unwilling to follow their duties as the triers of fact. Implications for legal participants, expert witnesses, and researchers are discussed.

PMID: 29676480 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]