Jury Decision Making - Lecture 6 Flashcards Preview

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How many people form a jury in England and Wales?

12 people


How many people form a jury in Scotland?

15 people


How long MUST a jury try to reach a unanimous verdict?

2 hours


After 2 hours, what majority will be accepted?



If a 10-2 verdict is not reached, what is the jury called?

A hung jury


In what percentage of criminal trials is trial by jury used? And in what type of cases?

In 2% of trials and for cases where the accused has pleaded not guilty


Where is expert testimony on the factors influencing eyewitness evidence more common?

More common in the US than in the UK


When does expert testimony have more impact?

It has more impact when evidence is complicated (Cooper et al, 1996)


Judges may rule expert testimony as inadmissible or jurors may discount expert testimony. Why?

1. Tells us nothing new
2. It is based on laboratory studies
3. Eyewitness account is too compelling


Do jurors rely heavily on witness' confidence? If so, why?

Yes they do, to infer accuracy


What is the reality about confidence and accuracy?

Confidence is a poor indicator of accuracy.


What did Penrod and Cutler (1995) report?

Jurors had a tendency to 'over-believe' eyewitness testimonies.
They are not sensitive to factors that influence accuracy.
Rely on confidence assessments of witnesses (this can be influenced by post-identification information).
Expert testimony can reduce this reliance on confidence (Loftus, 2010)


What did Wright and Skagerberg, 2007 conclude about eyewitness confidence?

That it is malleable


What study did they undertake?

134 real eyewitnesses attending UK police identification suite were involved.
Following parade, witness said how confident they were in their decision.
Witness was then told outcome of their identification.
Witness again rated their confidence
Feedback about identification decision affected witness' confidence (those that had picked the suspect became more confident)


Does attractiveness play role in the length of sentence?

According to Sigall and Ostrove (1975), physically attractive defendants received lower sentences based on a mock case using photographs.
According to Saladin et al (1988), using 8 photos, attractive men were considered less capable of committing a crime, but moderated by crime severity.
According to Stewart (1980), attractive, clean, neat and well dressed defendants received lower sentences, but it had no effect on the verdict.
According to Kerr (1978), attractive victims are more frequently supported by guilty verdicts.


How do jurors reach a verdict?

Pennington and Hastie (1986, 1982) introduced the story model - jurors constructed a story-like account to organise and interpret evidence that they hear.
These sotries fit with the juror's general knowledge about structure of stories (eg. coherence and consistency) and their beliefs and expectations of how the legal system works.
Juror's decision is based upon an evaluation of how plausible and complete the story is.
If done early on, there will be a bias towards evaluating subsequent evidence in light of story they have constructed (confirmation bias).


Who invented the dual-process theory?

Eagly and Chaiken, 1993.


What are the two processes?

Systematic and Heuristic


What is systematic processing?

Slower and more effortful thinking when the juror closely scrutinises and analyses the evidence


What is heuristic processing?

Faster, more automatic thinking which involves less detailed scrutiny of evidence.
eg. "There is no smoke without fire" or "Experts can be trusted".


What did Carlson and Russo (2001) say about the story model?

That it is the best account but that all stories will be different (because of influence of prior beliefs etc) and this may impact on outcomes made by juries.


What four things make up the complexity of evidence?

Complexity of evidence
Number of witnesses
Length of trial
Number of charges


What makes up the quality of information?

Number of documents
Number of items in evidence
Number of parties involved (eg. complaints)


When is heuristic processing favoured/used?

When people are tired, pressured for time, evidence is complex or there is a lack of knowledge on the topic.


When is systematic processing used?

When the presentation of evidence is simplified.


What is confirmation bias?

The tendency for people to seek information that is consistent with their beliefs but to discount information that is inconsistent with their beliefs.
Honess and Charman (2002) - "Once jurors have made up their mind, they stop thinking about the evidence too hard".


Are stereotypes a contributing factor?

Mazzella and Feingold (1994) underwent a study where participants had to read a scenario of a criminal case about a black or white defendant.
They reported no overall effect of race on guilt, but that there was a difference in severity of punishment deemed appropriate.
Greater punishment for blacks than whites for negligent homicides.
Greater punishment for whites than blacks for fraud.
Gordon, Bindrim and McNicholas and Walden (1988) said that defendants are dealt with more harshly when their crime is stereotypical of their race.


In the UK, what does the Contempt of Court Act (1981) do?

It makes it an offence to publish anything that leads to substantial risk that the criminal justice proceedings will be prejudiced.


What is an example of a retrial?

A judge reordered a retrial of two LEeds United players accused of assaulting an Asian student.
Just before trial, the Sunday Mirror ran an interview where the victim's father said he thought it was racially motivated.
Several jurors had seen this and the judge believed therefore that it would make the verdict unsafe because of the 'substantial risk of prejudice'.
Studebacker and Penrod (1997) say that finding a truly independent location for trial may be impossible.


What did Bomstein et al (2002) find when they exposed participants to negative pre-trial publicity?

That they were more likely to judge defendant guilty than participants exposed to less or no negative pre-trail publicity.
Mock jurors were presented with a lawsuit against a chemical company for causing ovarian cancer. The participants either received: factual info, negative info about plaintiff or negative info about chemical company (defendant)
Factual info - 46% found chemical company liable
Negative info about plaintiff - 25% found company liable
Negative info about chemical company - 75% found company liable