Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1976

Keywords

Jury deliberation, Jury decision making, Simulated juries, Canada Evidence Act Section 12

Disciplines

Applied Statistics | Courts | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Evidence | Legal Writing and Research | Litigation

Abstract

In the past, there have been three major approaches to the experimental investigation of the jury. First, juror selection research involves the study of the relation between verdicts or leniency toward certain classes of defendants and the characteristics of potential jurors. The second class of research is group study, in which the amount and style of individual participation is observed within the context of simulated jury deliberations (e.g., Strodtbeck, James and Hawkins, 1957). Finally, experimental psychology has made another contribution to the study of the jury; numerous researchers have conducted experimental studies employing legal stimulus materials. Typically, in such a study, the presence or absence of a piece of evidence or other information about a hypothetical case is varied, and its effects on judgments about the defendant by individual jurors are assessed (e.g., Landy and Aronson, 1969).

There are two compelling reasons for studying groups in addition to studying individuals. First, the method by which an individual arrives at a judgment may not be analogous to the procedure by which a jury arrives at a verdict. A second disadvantage in relying solely on individual verdicts is the difficulty in examining the decision-making process, since it is essentially private. The public nature of a group deliberation allows greater accessibility to these processes. By examining group discussions of cases, one may gain insight into the manner in which certain factors affect jury decisions. Thus, it is worthwhile to carry out experimental studies using groups of simulated juries.

Publication Citation

Published in: Criminal Law Quarterly, vol. 18, no. 2 (March 1976).