Public opinion and the tax evasion trial of Reverend Moon


  • Dr. James T. Richardson J. D., Ph.D.

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Sociology and judicial studies and director of the master of judicial studies degree program at the University of Nevada, Reno
    • Department of Sociology, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, 89557-0067, USA
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  • A previous draft of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 1990.


This paper presents the results of a survey of a random sample of 1,000 people taken from the Southern Judicial District of New York to measure the amount of knowledge about and bias toward the Reverend Moon prior to his trial on tax evasion charges. The survey was completed as part of the pretrial preparation by Reverend Moon, and was used to support his motion for a bench trial, instead of having the case tried before a jury. The survey revealed very high levels of knowledge about the Church and Reverend Moon, as well as a strong negative bias toward both. Implications of these results and the outcome of the actual trial for the jury system and for religion and religionists is discussed.