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NCJ Number: 67565 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: REDUCING JUROR BIAS - AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH (FROM NEW DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLEGAL RESEARCH, 1980, BY PAUL D LIPSETT AND BRUCE DENNIS SALES - SEE NCJ-71016)
Author(s): M F KAPLAN; C SCHERSCHING
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, DC 20203
Grant Number: MH23516
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TWO EXPERIMENTS FIND THAT JURORS SHOW THE LEAST BIAS WHEN EVIDENCE IS PRESENTED IN A PROMPT, IMPARTIAL MANNER, BUT THAT THE PROCESS OF DELIBERATION HELPS TO DIFFUSE BIAS INTRODUCED BY ANNOYING COURTROOM CONDITIONS.
Abstract: THE FIRST EXPERIMENT TESTED JUROR REACTION TO THE RELIABILITY OF EVIDENCE. A SERIES OF EIGHT TRAFFIC FELONY CASES, FOUR SHOWING OBVIOUS GUILT AND FOUR SHOWING OBVIOUS INNOCENCE, WERE PRESENTED TO PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. THE CONTROLS JUDGED JUST THE EVIDENCE. ONE GROUP WAS ASSURED THAT THE CASES WERE WELL-PREPARED AND THAT THE DATA WERE RELIABLE, AND THE OTHER WAS TOLD THAT THE CASES WERE POORLY PREPARED AND UNRELIABLE. HARSH JURORS TENDED TO RENDER HARSH JUDGMENTS IN BOTH THE CONTROL AND UNRELIABLE GROUPS; LENIENT JURORS TENDED TO FOLLOW THEIR BIASES UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS. HOWEVER, BOTH GROUPS AGREED CLOSELY WHEN THEY WERE SURE THAT THE FACTS WERE ACCURATE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE ADVERSARY COURTROOM APPROACH, WHICH TENDS TO CAST DOUBT ON THE RELIABILITY OF EVIDENCE, ACTUALLY ENCOURAGES BIAS. IN THE SECOND STUDY A VARIETY OF COURTROOM ANNOYANCES WERE INTRODUCED IN A SERIES OF SIMULATED TRIALS. BEFORE DELIBERATION JUROR BIAS TENDED TO REFLECT THE SOURCE OF ANNOYANCE -- THOSE CAUSED BY THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY LED JURORS TO CONCLUDE THE DEFENDANT WAS GUILTY WHILE ANNOYING PROSECUTORIAL BEHAVIOR MADE JURORS MORE LENIENT. HOWEVER, AFTER DELIBERATION THE BIAS WAS STRONGLY MODIFIED AND THE VERDICT REFLECTED THE FACTS AS PRESENTED IN THE CASE. THE IMPLICATIONS FOR JURY TRIALS ARE DISCUSSED AT LENGTH.
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Courtroom decorum; Discrimination; Evidence; Jury decisionmaking
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