Date of Award
Master of Science
Communication Disorders and Sciences
The purpose of this study was to discover if as an expert witness, an SLP can make a significant impact on the decision made by juries in the cases of defendants with a traumatic brain injury compared to no expert witness testimony. Participants were recruited from a pool of individuals who met the requirements to be a potential juror in the state of Illinois. Participants completed a survey regarding their opinions on defendants with TBI in court cases. The survey was created with the online survey generator software, “Google Forms” in order to determine if individuals would judge a defendant differently when informed of the expert witness testimony of an SLP. Results suggest a positive correlation between exposure to SLP testimony and greater leniency or rehabilitative tendencies in legal judgment. The implications of these results shine a very important light on the issue of individuals with TBI inside the criminal justice system. If cases continue to be held in a court of law without the input of specialized SLP expert knowledge, it would be difficult to say if true justice is served for each individual. With SLP expert testimony, the number of individuals with TBI who are behind bars as a result of ill-informed jury sentencing could be significantly reduced.
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