Jury Decision Making

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  1. What is the adversarial court system?
    • Uk, US, Commonwealth 
    • Structured dispute between two theoretically equal parties 
    • The presentation of evidence gives the advantage 
    • Judges are not usually involved in case presentation of evidence gathering and remain as an impartial arbiter 
    • Judge delivers sentence for more minor cases and jurors for more major ones
  2. What is the inquisitorial court system?
    • Continental Europe 
    • Judges conduct their own investigation for or against defendant such as calling witnesses and conducting interviews 
    • Decides whether the case continues or halts
    • More of an investigation than a dispute
  3. What is the difference between criminal and civil cases?
    • Civil is non criminal law (in the UK) and deals with litigation and disputes between independent parties
    • Based on a balance of probability 
    • Criminal cases are offences that are counter to the public interest 
    • Based on a burden of truth
  4. What is the difference between the magistrate and crown courts?
    • All criminal cases start and 95% end in magistrate courts
    • No jury, 2/3 magistrates or a district judge
    • Less serious 'summary' offences dealt with
    • Crown courts hold the more serious 'indictable' offences and appeals against decisions made by the magistrates 
    • A jury determines guilt and passes the sentence
  5. What is a jury?
    • A group of individuals from the general public who swear to make an impartial decision based on the evidence presented 
    • 12 in England, 15 in Scotland 
    • Find facts, determine truth from falsity and resolve cases through common sense
  6. What are the advantages of Juries?
    • Guard against a state monopoly (totalitarian)
    • More representative of the reasoning of the population than a single judge (but males are consistently over-represented)
    • A group is less susceptible to corruption and coaching
  7. What are the disadvantages of Juries?
    • Untrained and varying in intellectual ability 
    • Prone to influence by extra-legal factors such as appearance 
    • Unfamiliar with legal proceedings and might misunderstand them 
    • Struggle to interpret complex scientific or statistical information presented to them
  8. Why is it hard to research Jurors?
    • Their deliberation cannot be observed in most European countries (so studies take place in the US)
    • One cannot say the jury made the right or wrong decision, cases are rarely black and white - Bornstein & Green (2011)
  9. What are the issues surrounding pre-trial information?
    • High profile cases attract a lot of media attention 
    • There is no way to determine if it is accurate and complete 
    • Steblay et al (1999)
    • 44 empirical tests with over 5500 p's
    • Used mock jurors and post trial feedback from real ones
    • More likely to find the defendant guilty if there was more pre trial negative publicity 
    • This was even more pronounced when it contained  verdict assessments on the news, multiple pieces of negative information, murder, sex or drug related or there was a larger gap between publicity and verdict
  10. Why is pretrial publicity damaging?
    • Jurors store info from it and later let it affect judgments 
    • Could be informational social influence: the tendency to adhere to other sources of information than your under the assumption that others are more likely to be accurate- Cialdini (1993)
    • More serious crimes are more flashy and attention grabbing so these effects are amplified
  11. Can we ward against the effects of pretrial publicity?
    • Yes, if we change the venue and therefore the pool of jurors- Steblay et al (1999)
    • Yes and no. Judicial instruction to ignore inadmissible evidence does not effectively eliminate its impact, although giving a reason for disregarding it increases effectiveness although contested evidence ruled as inadmissible only accentuates it, resulting on a significant impact on verdicts - Steblay et al (2006)
  12. Do looks matter?
    • Yes, unattractive individuals rated as more likely to commit murder and armed robbery- Saladin et al (1998)
    • Yes- the attractiveness of defendants was positively correlated with more favourable outcomes- Stephan & Corder-Tully (1997)
    • This even occurred when the defendant was found guilty- Zebrowitz & McDonald (1991)
    • Halo effect- Thorndike (1920)
    • Jacobson (1981)- rape cases and attractiveness
  13. Does confidence matter?
    • Yes- Cutler, Penrod & Dexter (1990)
    • 129 experienced jurors from us & 321 students watched videos of mock trials 
    • Evidence was manipulated, the robber either wore a disguise or didn't, the robber used a weapon, and the levels of witness confidence was varied 
    • Confidence was the biggest determinant of judgments, the more confident, the more believable to the jurors
Card Set:
Jury Decision Making
2015-04-09 10:25:02
Psychology Criminology
Psychology,Forensic Psychology
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