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NCJ Number: 158285 Find in a Library
Title: Nonverbal Behaviors in Jury Selection
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:31  Issue:5  Dated:(September-October 1995)  Pages:414-445
Author(s): M S White
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 32
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the effectiveness of traditional and social science methods of jury selection and problems inherent in assuming that verdicts are determined by juror characteristics and presents the results of a study of nonverbal behaviors that prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers look for in jurors.
Abstract: The author contends that traditional and scientific jury selection methods have limited utility. Traditional methods provide conflicting advice, and lawyers generally do not agree on key personal characteristics that should be used in selecting jurors. Moreover, studies of the effectiveness of traditional jury selection methods show that the average lawyer cannot distinguish between favorable and unfavorable jurors using these methods. Serious questions also exist with regard to the effectiveness of scientific jury selection methods. Such methods frequently demand a level of precision that current social science methods cannot meet. In addition, both traditional and scientific methods sometimes incorrectly assume that fixed personal characteristics of jurors relate to verdict preferences. The study of nonverbal behaviors in jury selection found that prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers view jury selection as an interactive process in which lawyers and jurors evaluate each other. Criminal defense lawyers want jurors with whom they feel a personal rapport, jurors who are willing to listen, jurors who are comfortable with them and their client, and jurors who are willing to serve. While prosecutors generally prefer more confident and dominant jurors, criminal defense lawyers prefer jurors who use open gestures indicative of cooperation and trust when referring to the defendant. Criminal defense lawyers prefer jurors who remain still during questioning about racial biases, while prosecutors have no such preference. An appendix contains the questionnaire used in the study of nonverbal behaviors in jury selection. 92 footnotes and 3 tables
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Court statistics; Juror characteristics; Jury research; Jury selection; Verdicts
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