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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 40957 Find in a Library
Title: REACHING A VERDICT, STEP BY STEP
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:60  Issue:8  Dated:(MARCH 1977)  Pages:383-389
Author(s): D U STRAWN; R W BUCHANAN; B PRYOR; K P TAYLOR
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF JURY DELIBERATIONS, THE AUTHORS PROPOSE THAT A NEW TYPE OF JURY INSTRUCTION BE GIVEN TO JURORS - ONE WHICH GIVES JURORS SPECIFIC PROCEDURAL INSTRUCTIONS IN LAY TERMINOLOGY.
Abstract: IN REVIEWING THE THEORY OF SMALL-GROUP INTERACTIONS, THE AUTHORS NOTE THAT DECISION-MAKING IS GREATLY IMPROVED WHEN GROUPS FOLLOW AN ORGANIZED DISCUSSION PATTERN RATHER THAN A FREE-FLOWING DISCUSSION. APPLYING THIS TO THE JURY DELIBERATION PROCESS, THE AUTHORS CONTEND THAT THE STANDARD INSTRUCTIONS TO THE JURY SHOULD BE REPLACED WITH INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINING SPECIFIC PROCEDURAL INSTRUCTIONS, PROVIDING JURORS WITH A STEP-BY-STEP OR 'ISSUE-BY-ISSUE' ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEMS THEY MUST RESOLVE. THE INSTRUCTIONS SHOULD: 1) ACKNOWLEDGE THE JURY'S IMPORTANCE; 2) EXPLAIN WHAT THE CASE IS ABOUT IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE; 3) EXPLAIN IN NON-LEGAL TERMINOLOGY THE EXACT LEGAL ISSUES TO BE DECIDED BY THE JURY; 4) DEFINE ALL LEGAL TERMINOLOGY USED; 5) INSTRUCT JURORS TO USE ONLY THOSE DEFINITIONS GIVEN; 6) DEFINE THE CONCEPT OF BURDEN OF PROOF; AND 7) BREAK DOWN THE LEGAL ISSUES OF THE CASE INTO THEIR SMALLEST COMPONENTS. A SAMPLE OF THIS KIND OF JURY INSTRUCTION UTILIZED IN GAIL HARRIS ETC. V. THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY IS PROVIDED TO ILLUSTRATE THE APPLICATION OF THESE PRINCIPLES IN AN ACTUAL COURT CASE. THE AUTHORS CONCLUDE THAT THIS TYPE OF INSTRUCTION WILL ENSURE HIGHER JUSTICE IN THE COURTS. ...DMC
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Group behavior; Juries; Jury instructions; Reform; Verdicts
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=40957

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