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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 158255 Find in a Library
Title: Blowing Smoke
Journal: ABA Journal  Volume:81  Dated:(October 1995)  Pages:56-60
Author(s): M Curriden
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses some of the tactics used both by defense lawyers and prosecutors to influence jury decisionmaking.
Abstract: The article contends that, in cases where the evidence strongly indicates the defendant's guilt, defense attorneys will raise issues that are essentially irrelevant to the facts of the case in order to confuse or polarize members of the jury. Judges report seeing more attempts to use backdoor evidence or to appeal to jurors' prejudices in recent years. The three most common methods used to turn attention away from the facts at issue in a case are to challenge the government or the law itself and divert attention from the defendant's participation in the alleged crime, to create an underlying tone to make it appear that the defendant is being treated unfairly, and to slip the inference in the back door. Appealing to racial and sexual stereotypes seems to be an increasingly popular diversionary tactic.
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Attorney-jury interaction; Jury decisionmaking
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