Lecture 6: Jury Decision Making Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Lecture 6: Jury Decision Making Deck (45):

What is Adjournment?

A method for dealing with biased jurors. Adjournments consist of postponing the trial to a later date. The belief is that the delay in time will reduce biases through a process of forgetting (which is assumed to take place over time) and "cooling down".


What is challenge for cause?

A method for dealing with biased jurors. Challenges for cause consist of questioning jurors directly to determine if they hold any biases. The belief is that it is possible to
identify biased jurors and replace them with more unbiased ones.


What is change of venue?

A method for dealing with biased jurors. Changes of venue consist of moving the trial to a new location. The belief is that jurors in the new location will be less biased than those in the original location.


What are summary offences?

Summary offences often involves a sentence of fewer than 6 months in prison and a fine of less than 2000$. Summary offences are tried by judge alone and the defendant charged with summary offence does not have a right to a jury.


What are indictable offences?

Indictable offences fall into 3 categories: less serious offence heard by a judge alone (I.e., theft, failure to comply with probation) Highly serious indictable offenses must be tried by judge and jury (treason, murder, piracy) and for some indictable offences the accused can choose whether the rial proceeds by judge and jury or jury alone (i.e., robbery, sexual assault with a weapon)


What are hybrid offenses?

Are a combination of indictable offenses and summary offenses. These are offences for which the max. sentence is 5 or more years in prison if they proceed by indictment. If they proceed summarily, the max sentence id 6 or 18 months in some cases (such as sexual assault).


Do the vast majority of cases in Canada have a right to a jury?

No, most of the cases in Canada do not have a right to a jury because most are summary offenses (juries are rare)


What is the Juries act?

Provincial and territorial legislation that outlines the eligibility criteria for jury service and how prospective jurors must be selected


What is jury summons?

A court order that states a time and place to go for jury duty


How many jurors does a criminal trial have in Canada?

12 person juries


What is the main function of a jury?

Decide facts from trial evidence (not from previous beliefs, not from schemas, not from media etc.- Psychology suggests it is very difficult to put these things aside despite instructions from the judge that tell you to do so)


What are some other functions of a jury?

Act as the conscience of the community, use the wisdom of 12, increase knowledge about the criminal justice, to protect against outdated laws


What are the 2 types of challenges lawyers can present to jurors?

Peremptory challenge (used to reject jurors who they believe are unlikely to reach a verdict in their favour) and challenge for cause (lawyer must give a reason)


What are the characteristics and responsibilities of juries in Canada?

A composition that represents the community in which the crime occurred, this is known as representativeness. and a lack of bias on the part of the jurors, known as impartiality.


What does representativeness entail and what is the problem with it?

Random selection from within community, representative of community. Problem: we exclude certain people based o professions or people who havent been registered to vote (e.g., homless ppl, people living on reserves i.e., lack of aboriginal jury members)


What does impartiality entail?

The belief that various safe guards can be put in place to protect from biases influencing verdicts, they accept that the biases exist but want to prevent attitude and beliefs from turning into behaviours. However, it is argued that these safe guards do not work. For a juror to be impartial they must set aside any preexisting biases, prejudices or attitudes, must ignore any information that is not admissible evidence, and must have no connection to the defendant.


What is Jury Nullification?

Occurs when the jury ignores the law and the evidence, rendering a verdict based on some other criteria


What is Chaos theory?

The theory that when jurors are guided by their emotions and personal biases rather than by law, chaos in judgement results


What is interest Prejudice?

A source of juror bias that refers to someone who has direct interest in the case (personal investment in the outcome), For example a parent sitting on the jury of their child's trial.


What is specific prejudice?

A source of juror bias where someone has Attitudes about the specific case (e.g., paul bernado). Happens with high profile cases that appear frequently on the media


What is Generic prejudice?

A source of juror bias that refers to beliefs about people or crime. For example, generic attitudes about child molesters or about religions


What is normative prejudice?

A community sentiment, for example a local football player charged with sexual assault in a community where football is important


What do we do in Canada to limit impartiality?

Limits on Pretrial publicity (pretrial press ban, designed to limit bias)
Limits on discussion by juror (Jury members cannot release details about jury discussion)
12 person juries (cancel out biases)
Reminders about sworn oaths


Do safeguards make a difference?

Kramer et al.
Receiving biasing information before viewing a trial can increase guilty verdicts. Doesn't matter if the information was given long before the trial or right before it.
Instructions to ignore pre-trial publicity does not significantly influence jury verdicts.


What are the 2 approaches to jury selection?

Broad attitudes and traits and case specific approach


Define the broad attitudes and traits approach to jury selection

This method examines broad attitudes and traits, for example, using surveys such as the Juror Bias Scale a researcher may be able to
identify jurors who hold pro-defence versus pro-prosecution attitudes.


Describe the case specific approach to jury selection

Specific attitudes of relevance to a particular case (you will ask a whole series of questions relevant to the case and demographic questions, the defence team knows what kind of people they are looking for and they select based on answers)


What approaches can be used to study juror/jury behaviour?

Interviews with jurors (US) not possible in Canada
Archival records Simulation techniques (most common)
Field studies


Describe how we study jury's through archives

Records of trials, such as transcripts and police interviews, can be reviewed to uncover relationships among variables. The strength of this methodology is similar to post trial interviews in that external validity is high, A weakness is the inability to determine cause-and-effect relationships.. The researcher is limited to the data in the archive and unable to collect more, and unaware of the reliability of the information


Describe simulation studies

Simulation studies are one of the most common methodologies. Researchers stimulate a trial by using a written, audio or video format. Participants are provided with trial info and the researcher can manipulate or vary this info. Possible IV's: age of witness, race of defendant. Following trial, participants are asked to respond individually (juror) or in groups (jury) and asked to render a verdict. High internal validity, meaning they can establish cause and effect. Limits external validity. and are university students which limits generalizability.


Describe Field studies

Involves using actual jurors while they are serving on jury duty, so cooperation from the courts and jurors is required. Researchers are able to observe variables of interest as they are occurring. High external validity.Limitations: receiving approval from courts can be difficult., and low internal validity.


What is deliberation?

When jury members discuss the evidence privately among themselves to reach a verdict that is then provided to the court.


What are the two aids jurors can use while they listen to the evidence?

Note taking and Asking questions


Describe the mathematical models

They view Jurors as conducting a set of mental calculations regarding the importance and strength of each piece of evidence. A guilty or not guilty verdict is determined by the outcome of all the calculations for the relevant evidence .Advantage: precise and testable
Disadvantage not realistic or intuitively appealing. Does not predict very well or reflect how juries make decisions.


What is an example of a mathematical model?

Kassin and wrightsman: Verdict is the result of 2 judgements
1) Likelihood of commission (DNA + no alibi + witness)
2) Threshold of reasonable doubt (Likelihood of commission (LOC) > Threshold of reasonable doubt (TRD) --> Guilty verdict) (LOC < TRD--> innocent verdict)


What is the explanation based model?

Explanation models suggest that evidence is organized into a coherent whole.


Describe Pennington and Hastie's story model

They proposed that jurors are active at understanding and processing the evidence. Jurors interpret and elaborate on the eveidence and make causal connections creating a story structure. These "stories" are compared with each verdict option presented by the judge. The verdict option that is most consistent with the story is the verdict reached.


Whats a disadvantage of the story model?

Jurors individual differences influence the story construction process, they bring in their personal experiences, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes when constructing their stories.


What is the directors cut model and story sampling model?

Devine proposed a integrative multi level decision making model that incorporates two levels: juror decision making and jury decision making. The directors cut model is decision making at the individual level and proposes that jurors use evidence presented at trial to form a narrative. The story sampling model is when the jurors share their stories of the information with other jurors.


What is polarization?

A phenomenon that occurs when individuals tend to become more extreme in their initial position following a group discussion.


What is leniency bias?

When jurors move toward greater leniency during deliberations.


What is a hung jury?

A jury that cannot reach a unanimous verdict


Influences on jury decision making

Actual trial evidence, The way evidence is presented, Belief of jurors, Attitudes towards crimes/criminal, Presence of expert witnesses, Comprehension of trial, comprehension aids (like note taking, asking questions and pre trial instructions)


What are other influential factors?

Size of jury (12 person jury vs. 6, 12 person in Canada), The decision rule (we have unanimous decision rules)


What is the challenge for cause process?

Jurors are asked questions (5 or so) and only the prospective jurors state of mind can be examined, lawyers arent allowed to ask about backgrounds/personalities. In canada, the process begins with two individuals being selected from the jury pool and are sworn to act as triers, a third person is selected to be a prospective juror, the lawyers or judge question the prospective juror while the two triers listen. the triers then discuss to reach a unaminous decision about whether the juror is impartial. iF the juror is not approved they are dismissed and another person comes, if they are approved they become the first jury member, then this first juror acts as a trier for the second juror (jurors 1 and 2 act as triers for juror 3 etc)