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NCJ Number: 69703 Find in a Library
Title: Juror Bias - A Practical Screening Device and the Case for Permitting Its Use
Journal: Minnesota Law Review  Volume:64  Issue:5  Dated:(June 1980)  Pages:987-1020
Corporate Author: University of Minnesota Law School
Institute on Criminal Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
University of Minnesota Law School
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings are reported from a field study designed to test the predictive value of the Legal Attitudes Questionnaire (LAQ) in identifying extreme biases of potential jurors during the jury selection process.
Abstract: The LAQ, a 30-item survey that tests for the existence of authoritarian and anti-authoritarian attitudes, assumes that there are three general types of jurors in criminal cases: (1) those who are predisposed to favor the prosecution, to believe the testimony of police or of other State witnesses, and to disbelieve the testimony of defendants; (2) those who are predisposed to believe the testimony of defendants and their witnesses, and to distrust prosecutors and the testimony of police; and (3) those who have no substantial predisposition in favor of either side. A sample group of 117 jurors drawn from actual jurors in criminal trials that occurred in a major metropolitan court were administered the LAQ and submitted to subsequent interviews about their trial experiences to provide further indications of bias that could be checked against respondents' answers on the LAQ. Results showed that the LAQ was a reliable predictor of actual bias: Type A (authoritarian) jurors were two to five times more likely than jurors of either other group to display each of the conviction-prone biases studied and were overwhelmingly more likely to reveal multiple biases as well. Moreover, the consistency of the bias pattern across all trials and across all measures of bias indicated that these attitudes toward authority are fundamental and operate to a significant degree in virtually every type of criminal trial. The questionnaire could be a valuable part of voir dire aimed at the intelligent exercise of peremptories by providing accurate information about jurors' prejudices. Also, the use of the LAQ, although within the discretion of the trial courts, aids in reducing total time spent on voir dire and it would neither 'condition' jurors nor 'try the issues' before trial has begun. Extensive notes and tables are provided.
Index Term(s): Juries; Jury selection; Voir dire
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69703

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