Elderly Defendants

As the average life span increases, the population of elders involved in the court system grows. Thus, there has been some concern about how elders are treated when in court, in prison, and on death row.

Elders on Trial

Although research is limited, some studies have shown that elders are perceived to be less credible as witnesses, perhaps because the accuracy of their memory is in doubt. There is also scant research as to how elders are treated when they are defendants. Anecdotal evidence suggests that age may affect the decisions of some jurors and judges. In 2006, 89-year-old George Weller was on trial for driving his car through a farmers' market and killing 10 people. The jury found him guilty of manslaughter, which was the most ...

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