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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77225 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Sociological Techniques in the Jury Selection Process
Journal: National Journal of Criminal Defense  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:79-97
Author(s): N A Winston; W E Winston
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Resulting from an attempt to generate a body of data that could be of use to practicing attorneys, this paper identifies sociological variables relevant to the jury selection process and systematically tests them using a random sample.
Abstract: Data presented herein are part of a larger pool of data collected on the attitudes of jurors toward the death penalty, rape, criminals and trials, law enforcement officers, and the issue of race. The purpose of the research was to investigate the relationship between attitudes towards these items and four categories of variables. These variables included general background factors (e.g., age, education, income), television newswatching habits, ratings of neighborhood and community, and social-psychological factors. A random sample of 1,200 respondents was selected from a listing of persons called for jury duty in one county during 1978. Data were gathered using a telephone interview technique, and the response rate was 81 percent. Findings reveal that younger jurors and the less educated were more predisposed toward the defense. In addition, income was found to be a less sensitive indicator of attitudes toward the death penalty than were age and education. Retired persons were the most favorably disposed of all respondents toward the death penalty, and sex was not a significant factor with regard to attitudes toward the death penalty. For those who read the newspapers, all response categories were biased toward the prosecution. Those who were least likely to favor the death penalty were 45 years of age or less, well-educated, working, and not inclined to watch the news on television. Responses to interview questions are presented in extensive tables, and four footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Juries; Juror characteristics; Jury decisionmaking; Jury selection; Social psychology
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