Chapter 9: Social Psychology in the Courtroom Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 9: Social Psychology in the Courtroom Deck (21)
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Joan Little example of change of venue

-1974 - Alligood (white jailer) was found dead in a locked cell - black woman Joan Little was the occupier of the cell but was not present at the time the body was found. - The pants of Alligood were found outside the cell. - Joan Little turned herself in sometime later and confessed to the killing, pleading self-defence; Alligood had tried to rape her. The media coverage in the area had led to prejudicial attitudes towards Joan and the trial was subsequently moved. She was acquitted following a 5-week trial


Laboratory Evidence of Impact of Pretrial publicity on jury - Ogloff and Vidmar

1994- 4 groups of participants recieved different levels of publicity regarding a mock sexual abuse case with boys in an orphanage. The first group received just the case facts, the second group received the prejudicial newspaper. the third group watched the prejudicial footage, while the 4th group read the newspaper and watched the footage. Those who were exposed to the prejudicial coverage were found to more likely to rate the defendant (priest) as guilty


Frederick (1987) reliable methodology to illustrate pretrial prejudice in a survey

(a) Jury eligible community of interest questioned (b) Baseline community questioned (c) Questions that include - perceived levels of publicity - Attitudes towards guilt of defendant - general attitudes


What should future research on pretrial prejudice focus on

The impact of the internet - publicity of a previous case defendant accused of - rumours


Saks issues with the Williams finding

The court was simply extrapolating empirical data to the court room - research on conformity suggests difference between 6 & 12 (ally - 1/6 -> change vote 2/12 -> no change)


Saks issues with the Colgrave decision

Faulty methodology in studies - confounding variables


In order to be eligible to be on the Jury in the US

- over 18 - Reside in judicial district for over a year - Be able to read, speak or understand English - Not have been charged or convicted of a crime - physical and mental capacity


Is the selection process in the US fair?

It has been found to be discriminatory against low SES and minorities


Exemptions for jurors

- Police officer/fire fighter - public posting - Age (70 +) -Undue hardship


Three Social Psychologists' Jury Selection Techniques

-Survey Approach - In-court attitude ratings - in-court non-verbal communication


Survey Approach

Approaching members of community and surveying them about the trial and asking how they would respond as juror (taking demographic info)


In-court Attitude Ratings

Asking potential jurors about how they would respond to the facts of the case + personality Qs


In Court non-verbal Communication

Judgement based on body language of those in the Venire


What is suggested as future research direction in jury composition?

Venire selction - trying to make it more representative of total jurisdiction pop (supplementary info such as drivers license instead of just voters list)

Juror Questioning by Attorneys - Canadian model does not allow such extensive qs - does this produce a more unbiased jury?


What are two extra-evidential factors in juror bias?

Race and SES - it has been found that white jurors more likely to assign lengthier sentence to black defendant ESPECIALLY if victim white

SES - According to research low SES tended to be treated more harshly than high status defendants
- due to speech style


Example of Zamora vs State expert testimony

1977 a 15-year old burglar killed the woman who he was robbing as she interrupted him. The defense plead insanity due the influence of violent TV. Court decided that the social psychologist could not testify that watching violent TV makes someone unable to tell the difference between right and wrong


Frye Test

Well recognised scientific principle with gen. acceptance in the field


Ultimate Issue Testimony

Where an expert not only has to explain the psychological model or theory but testify whether specific individual is representative of that model/theory
- research suggests it affects juror decision making


Ethical Dilemmas in providing UIT

Misleading the case or trial due to selective questioning by the attorney


Jury Nullification

Juries have the right to nullify or ignore violations of the law (E.g Euthanasia)


Issues with jury instructions

Are jury members able to understand the instructions, and are the timing of the instructions ideal (I.e at the end of trial, vs at the end and beginning)