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NCJ Number: 66319 Find in a Library
Title: DOUBTFUL CONVICTIONS BY JURY
Journal: CRIMINAL LAW REVIEW  Dated:(APRIL 1979)  Pages:230-238
Author(s): J BALDWIN; M MCCONVILLE
Corporate Author: Sweet and Maxwell
Marketing Director
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Sweet and Maxwell
London, NW3 3PF, England
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: A BRITISH STUDY FOCUSING ON QUESTIONABLE CONVICTIONS BY JURIES IS DISCUSSED, HIGHLIGHTING THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY, EXPLANATIONS OF DOUBTFUL CONVICTIONS, AND THE LEVEL OF ERROR ACCEPTABILITY.
Abstract: THE QUESTION OF DOUBTFUL JURY CONVICTIONS WAS EXAMINED AS PART OF A STUDY INVOLVING THE OUTCOME OF 370 JURY TRIALS IN THE BIRMINGHAM CROWN COURT (ENGLAND) OVER A 21-MONTH PERIOD IN 1975 AND 1976. RESEARCHERS WERE NOT PERMITTED TO TALK TO THE JURORS BUT DID DEVELOP A VIEW OF EACH VERDICT BY COLLECTING OPINIONS ON THE OUTCOME FROM AS MANY OF THE OTHER TRIAL PARTICIPANTS AS POSSIBLE, INCLUDING THE TRIAL JUDGE, THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY, THE PROSECUTOR, AND THE POLICE OFFICER. EVALUATED CASES INVOLVED QUESTIONABLE CONVICTION OF THE DEFENDANTS FOR RAPE, ROBBERY, AND ASSAULT, AMONG OTHER CHARGES. IN ONE CASE, THE DEFENDANT SUSTAINED MORE SEVERE INJURIES THAN THE COMPLAINANTS WHO WERE KNOWN TROUBLEMAKERS, BUT THE JURY CONVICTED THE DEFENDANT OF ASSAULT. WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS MAY OCCUR WHEN JURIES ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT IS MEANT BY THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT GUILT BE ESTABLISHED 'BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.' RESPONDENTS ALSO FELT THAT CERTAIN JURIES FAILED TO COMPREHEND IMPORTANT ISSUES RAISED IN THE TRIAL AND SOMETIMES DISREGARDED THE LEAD OFFERED BY THE JUDGE IN HIS SUMMATION. JURIES STUDIED RETURNED QUESIONABLE CONVICTIONS IN ABOUT 1 IN 20 CASES. THE CASES INVOLVED SERIOUS CHARGES AGAINST DEFENDANTS WHO WERE NOT PROFESSIONAL CRIMINALS, AND THE CONVICTIONS CAUSED DEVASTATING SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE ACCUSED AND THEIR FAMILIES. THE APPEALS SYSTEM FAILED ALL OF THE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED. SUCH MISTAKES INVOLVING MINORITY OF DEFENDANTS WILL CONTINUE. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Convictions; England; Jury decisionmaking; Studies; Verdicts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66319

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