skip navigation

Justinfo Subscribe to Stay Informed

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


NCJRS Abstract


Subscribe to Stay Informed
Want to be in the know? JUSTINFO is a biweekly e-newsletter containing information about new publications, events, training, funding opportunities, and Web-based resources available from the NCJRS Federal sponsors. Sign up to get JUSTINFO in your inbox.

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
NCJ Number: NCJ 211000   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Testing the Effects of Selected Jury Trial Innovations on Juror Comprehension of Contested mtDNA Evidence: Final Technical Report
  Document URL: PDF 
  Dataset URL: DATASET 1
Author(s): B. Michael Dann ; Valerie P. Hans ; David H. Kaye
Date Published: 12/2004
Page Count: 198
  Annotation: This study examined whether the use of several jury reform techniques improved juror understanding of expert testimony about mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
Abstract: Innovative trial procedures have been advocated by judges, scholars, and jury reform commissions over the past decade in order to assist jurors in their understanding of complex testimony presented during trials. Reform suggestions range from simple juror note taking to more controversial suggestions such as allowing jurors to question witnesses or permit jurors to discuss the case with one another during the course of the trial. While some reform suggestions seem promising, there is scant research on their impact in the courtroom. The current study explored the use of several jury reform techniques through the use of a controlled mock trial approach. A total of 60 mock juries were run in which jury pool members watched a videotaped armed robbery trial featuring conflicting expert testimony about mtDNA. Some juries simply watched the videotape before deliberating on a verdict, while other juries were allowed to take notes, ask questions relating to the expert testimony, use a checklist, or refer to jury notebooks containing information about mtDNA in the case under question. Results indicated that jurors appreciated the use of innovations and reported that all four innovations aided in their understanding and recall of mtDNA testimony. Statistical analyses of juror comprehension provided mixed results: in some analyses the use of notebooks and a checklist improved juror comprehension whereas in other analyses, no effects on juror comprehension were observed. Suggestions are offered for the presentation of complex evidence in jury trials, including the recommendations to distribute a checklist or inference chart listing the issues presented by complex evidence and to distribute a collection of the expert’s slides, overheads, charts, and other supplementary materials. Footnotes, tables, figures, appendixes
Main Term(s): Jury research ; NIJ grant-related documents
Index Term(s): Jury decisionmaking ; Juror instructional materials ; NIJ final report
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 2002-IJ-CX-0026
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

* A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's web site is provided.