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NCJ Number: 77427 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Evaluating Social Scientific Methods of Jury Selection
Author(s): S Penrod
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Science Foundation
Washington, DC 20550
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results are reported from a study that examines whether social scientific methods of jury selection can be used to produce juries whose decisions are favorable to the trial objective of attorneys using such selection methods.
Abstract: A sample of 367 actual jurors provided demographic and attitudinal information and verdict preferences on four simulated trials. Three of the trials were criminal trials for first degree murder, rape, and robbery. The fourth trial was a civil suit against a common carrier for damages arising from an accident. Each trial was presented on audiotape and was in the format of an actual trial, including opening and closing statements by attorneys, witness testimony, and judge's instructions. The average trial length was 25 minutes. Juror responses were analyzed (using regression analysis) to determine whether jurors' verdict preferences could be predicted from their attitudes and personal characteristics. The regression models could account for only 5 to 16 percent of the variance in the four cases. The failure to account for substantial portions of the variance in jurors' verdict preferences suggests that social scientific methods of juror selection based on public opinion surveys (in which verdict preferences are not available) are not an effective method of selecting juries and pose no threat to the impartiality of the jury system. Tabular data, reference notes, and about 30 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Evaluation; Jury decisionmaking; Jury selection; Prediction
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, May, 1980.
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