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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78562 Find in a Library
Title: Critical Review of the Research Into the Effects of Defendant Attractiveness, Inadmissible Evidence and Restriction of Verdict Alternatives on Jury Decisions
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:67-79
Author(s): P Houlden
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Research into the effects of defendant attractiveness, inadmissible evidence, and restriction of verdict alternatives on jury verdicts is reviewed and assessed.
Abstract: The review synthesizes the results of studies in each area, while critically evaluating both the individual studies and the general methodologies used in jury research. Research into the impact of all three of the variables on jury verdicts has been so methodologically weak that unequivocal conclusions are impossible. Methodological weaknesses include the use of hypothetical rather than actual jury decisionmaking, when studies have shown that the absence of real consequences in decisionmaking affects the decisions made; limited descriptions of the events of the case for participating subjects; focusing on jury sentencing decisions rather than verdicts; emphasis on individual juror decisions rather than group decisions; and the absence of the trial influences and instructions designed to inform jurors of the basis upon which their verdict is to be rendered. Overall, the studies fail to make use of or accurately simulate the actual dynamics of the possible variables impacting jury decisionmaking. While studies to correct the cited methodological weaknesses will not be easy or inexpensive, they must be conducted before the legally relevant and irrelevant factors impacting jury processes and outcomes can be determined. Eight footnotes, 4 reference notes, and 22 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Critiques; Jury decisionmaking; Literature reviews; Research methods
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