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NCJ Number: 156495 Find in a Library
Title: Expert Evidence and Hearsay: The Influence of "Secondhand" Information on Jurors' Decisions
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1995)  Pages:345-362
Author(s): R A Schuller
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In upholding the admission of expert evidence, some courts have held that hearsay information conveyed by an expert may be admitted as long as the jury is instructed to ignore the facts asserted in hearsay statements and to use the information only in determining the weight to attribute to the expert's opinion.
Abstract: In the current study, conducted to assess the influence of secondhand information on juror decisions, participants included 60 female and 40 male volunteers recruited from undergraduate psychology classes. They were randomly assigned to one of four possible conditions and were instructed to assume the role of a juror for the duration of the study. The stimulus case involved a defendant who was accused of murdering her abusive husband in self-defense. Four versions of the trial were presented, all of which included expert testimony called by the defense on battered woman syndrome. Results indicated that hearsay elements conveyed by an expert were perceived as less likely compared to a condition in which information was independently admitted at trial. Jurors, however, did not completely ignore hearsay. The impact of hearsay on verdict decisions operated primarily by influencing evaluations about the likelihood of hearsay events as opposed to judgments about expert testimony. 37 references and 2 tables
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses; Hearsay evidence; Jury decisionmaking; Rules of evidence; Testimony; Witness credibility
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