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Jury Decision-Making Biases and Methods to Counter Them

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 133-154
Tarika Daftary-Kapur; Rafaele Dumas; Steven D. Penrod
Date Published
February 2010
22 pages
This study examined research on the impact of jury decisionmaking; specifically, jury research on the impact of jury instructions, inadmissible evidence, scientific evidence, and pretrial publicity on juries.
The objective of this review was to give a broad overview of various biases associated with jury decisionmaking. Specifically, a review of the research was conducted on the impact of pretrial publicity, jury instructions, inadmissible evidence, and scientific evidence. It elucidates various challenges jurors may face across systems around the world and remedies to counter these challenges. After 50 years of scientific research on juries and juror decisionmaking, there are still many gaps in understanding how factors such as pretrial publicity, inadmissible evidence, scientific evidences, and jury instructions influence juries. At the same time the field has developed a level of appreciation for these problems and is making strives toward understanding them. Based on this review some conclusion can be drawn regarding the areas of decisionmaking reviewed. Jury instructions; Research shows that jurors have difficulties in understanding pattern instructions, at the same time some insights were developed into ways instructions can be rewritten to increase comprehensibility. Inadmissible evidence: There is an awareness of the cognitive effort involved in attempting to disregard evidence but are at this point unclear on how to eliminate the associated problems. Scientific evidence: Research has illuminated the difficulties jurors have with comprehending scientific evidence. Better education of jurors and judges can help to address this issue. Pretrial publicity: The threats posed by pretrial publicity to the defendant's right to a fair trial are clear. At the same time (save change of venue) there is a need to develop cost-effective remedies to help overcome media-induced biases. Referemces (Published Abstract)


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