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Jury Trials


									               Jury Trials
Jury Selection and Deliberations
Jury Selection & Service Act
   Jury pool must be a representative cross-
    section of the community
       Jury will more likely include minority group
        members → discourage majority members from
        expressing prejudice
       Heterogeneous juries are better fact finders &
        problem solvers
Heterogeneous juries
   Racial heterogeneity and jury deliberations
    (Sommers, 2002)
       Manipulated jury composition in mock trials and
        recorded deliberations
       Heterogeneous vs. homogeneous (white) juries
           Longer, more thorough deliberations
           Discussion of racially-charged topics (i.e. profiling)
           White jurors on mixed juries mentioned more factual
            information and were more aware of racial concerns
Jury pool
   Venire = REPRESENTATIVE pool of prospective
       5th & 6th Amendment rights:
         5 = grand jury must be convened to indict a person
         6 = jury representative of the community
   Representativeness (Weeks, 1999)
       LA county: jurors drawn based on a 20 mile driving radius
        from the courthouse
         1988 Census that 21.9% of jury-eligible population were
         Santa Monica courthouse, 5.8% of prospective jurors were
             Majority of blacks living within 20 miles of the Santa Monica
              Courthouse also lived within 20 miles of the downtown courthouse
Voir dire challenges
   Goals of voir dire
       Determine if jurors meet requirements to serve
       Discover grounds for challenges for cause
       Discover information to be used in exercising peremptory
   Challenges for cause
       Used by defense, prosecution, or judge to remove biased
   Peremptory challenges
       Used to remove potential jurors who may not be
        sympathetic to a client
Personality characteristics
   Authoritarianism
       Traditional values, punitive, submit to (& identify with)
        powerful figures
       Mock jurors
         More likely to convict (Narby, Cutler & Moran, 1993)
         Impose more punitive sentences (Bay & Noble, 1978)

   Internal-external locus of control
       Projecting own orientations to the behavior of others
         External locus jurors are more favored by the defense in
          criminal cases
         Internal locus jurors are more favored by the dense in civil
Personality characteristics
   Belief in a just world
       People get what they deserve (need for
        explanation and justification)
           Jurors may berate the victim OR be tough on the
Concerns about jury
   Jury competency
       Extralegal information
       Instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence
       Effects of expert testimony
       Understanding and applying juror instructions
       Ability to decide complex cases
   Jury bias
Extralegal information
   Prior-record evidence
       If the defendant takes the stand, prosecutors may question
        him about prior convictions
         Limiting instructions: evidence of a defendant’s prior
            record may be used ONLY to gauge the defendant’s
            credibility and NOT to prove the defendant’s propensity to
            commit the alleged crime
       Research findings
         Mock jurors given prior-record evidence are more likely to
         Similarity of prior conviction increases likelihood of
         Deliberating juries use prior-record information to decide
            likelihood of criminal disposition
Extralegal information
   Prior-acquittal evidence
       Research findings
           Dowling vs. US, 1990
               Jurors given prior-acquittal evidence were no more likely to
                convict than jurors given no such evidence
               Both groups were less likely to convict than jurors given
                evidence of a prior conviction

   Evidence on multiple charges
       Research findings
           Defendants are more likely to be convicted of a charge
            when it is tried in combination with other charges
Instructions to disregard
inadmissible evidence
   Admonishments may increase jurors’ reliance on
    inadmissible evidence
       Theories
         Reactance: threatens jurors’ freedom to consider all
          evidence (Brehm, 1966)
         Thought suppression: the harder one tries to control a
          thought, the less likely he succeeds (Wegner, 1989)
       Research
         Mock jurors are more likely to convict if a judge gives an
          explanation as to why jurors must disregard evidence
   Jurors will use evidence they perceive to be relevant
Jurors’ abilities to understand
and apply their instructions
   Legal language can be confusing
   Presentation of instructions: verbal vs. written
   Clarification of instructions
       Weeks v. Angelone (2000)
   Timing of instructions
       Recency effect: instructions given after trial
         Immediate past effects are remembered better than more
          remote ones
       Primacy effect: instructions given before trial
         People learn better when they know the task in advance
         Schematic frameworks facilitate comprehension and recall
Jurors’ abilities to decide
complex cases
   Methods of assessment
       Mock jury studies
           Research findings: jurors are able to decide complex
       Post-trial juror interviews
       “Research jurors”
Jury bias
   Jurors are “blank slates”
       Presumption of innocence
   Stealth jurors
       The Runaway Jury
   Attorneys try to select jurors who will be
    favorable to their case
       Assumption of bias
Inevitability of jury bias
   Jurors make 2 judgments
    1. Probability that the defendant committed the
    2. Reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt
   Pro-prosecution vs. pro-defense
       Predecisional distortion
       Research
         Kassin & Wrightsman (1983)
             attitude inventory, mock trial, individual verdicts
             Conviction rates: pro-prosecution (81%), pro-defense (52%)
   Jury Inferences
       Story model (Pennington & Hastie, 1986)

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