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Lecture 7

PSYC 3020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Jury Trial, Jury Nullification, World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3020
Professor
Dan Yarmey
Lecture
7

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Criminal cases - act is allegedly committed as found in the Criminal Code of Canada
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Can be heard by jury or judge alone
Fewer jurors than criminal cases (6-8 members)
Verdicts do not have to be unanimous
Civil cases - acts that breach a contract or other claims of "harm"
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Jury selection varies by province and territory (and country)
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Jury Selection in Canada
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In some instances defendants are given an option for a jury trial although they can
opt to be tried by a judge alone
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Sentence of fewer than 6 months in prison and a fine of less than $2000
(Section 787[1] of Criminal Code)
For some offences have a maximum of a 18 month sentence
Tried by a judge alone
Defendant does not have a right to a trial by jury
Summary offences
heard by a judge alone
these include theft, obtaining money or property by false
pretences, failure to comply with a probation order
Less serious indictable offences:
must be tried by judge and jury
the offences include treason, murder and piracy
section 473 of the Criminal Code indicates that if the
attorney general and the accused agree then the trial can
continue without a jury and the judge alone tries the case
Highly serious indictable offences:
these offences include robbery, arson and sexual assault
with a weapon
Defendant has the option to be tried by a
provincial/territorial court judge without a jury and without a
preliminary inquiry OR to have a preliminary inquiry and to
be tried by a judge without a jury OR to have a preliminary
inquiry and be tried by a judge and jury (the third is the
default if defendant does not decide)
For some indictable offences the accused can choose whether the
trial proceeds by judge and jury or judge alone
3 categories
Indictable offences
Cross between indictable offences and summary offenses
Max sentence is 5+ years in prison if they proceed by indictment
If Crown proceeds summarily max penalty is 6 months (18 months in
some cases such as sexual assault) & is tried by judge alone and
defendant does not have right to a jury trial
Up to the Crown attorney to decide in which direction the case proceeds
Hybrid offences
3 types of offences in Canada
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The Cases Heard by Juries
Jury = last bastion of democracy
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Jury Act: provincial legislation outlining criteria to be eligible to serve on a jury and
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Jury Selection
Unit 7: Juries: Fact Finders
November 2, 2016
11:25 AM
Midterm - Exam Page 1

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Jury Act: provincial legislation outlining criteria to be eligible to serve on a jury and
how prospective jurors must be selected
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Typically includes minimum age (i.e. 18 in Ontario and 19 in BC)
Professions that are excluded from jury duty (clergy, lawyers, physicians, police
officers, single parents)
Differences in eligibility criteria include:
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Prospective jurors receive a jury summons --> court order that states a time and
place for jury duty
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A jury summons does not guarantee that you will be a juror but that you are
expected to show up and be prepared to be a juror
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If you ignore a summons and do not show up you may incur a severe legal penalty
(i.e. fine or jail time)
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In Canada criminal trials have 12-person juries
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Reject jurors who they believe they are unlikely to reach a verdict from in
their favour
Lawyer does not have to provide a reason for rejecting the prospective
juror
Crown and defence are allowed a limited number of peremptory
challenges (i.e. murder trials, each side has 20 peremptory challenges,
other crimes have 12 challenges per side)
Peremptory challenge
Lawyer must have a reason for rejecting
Challenge for cause
If selected from juror pool you will be a juror unless a lawyer presents a challenge
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Because jurors are randomly selected from voting lists, not all people will be listed
and many categories of persons will be excluded from jury service
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These exclusions typically leave the jury pool to consist of white, middle-class men
and women
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In Canada lawyers receive
In the US lawyers receive
Name
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Address
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Occupation
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Not allowed to ask for
more information then
this
Physical demeanor
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Allowed greater opportunity to question
potential jurors about background, beliefs, and
behaviours
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Two individuals are picked from a jury pool to act as triers
Third person selected as prospective juror
Judges and lawyers question the prospective juror while the triers listen to the
answers provided
If juror is believed to not be impartial they are dismissed and another
person is selected and the process begins again
If believed impartial then that person becomes first member of the jury
and replaces on of the triers
Triers discussed answers with one anther and reach a joint decision about
juror's impartiality
Repeats until 12 jurors are selected
Process for selection for jurors for challenge for cause is unique to Canada:
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Inquisitorial procedure used in Europe - trial judges ask questions to witnesses
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Government (or people) are represented by the crown attorney (vs. the
defendant represented by a defense counsel (Europe))
Canadian courts are adversarial in nature
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Either parties are expected to champion, present enough evidence or challenge the
evidence of the other side to persuade the court their claim is based on the weight of
the evidence is more valid than the other
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Jurors are to approach the trial presuming innocence until proven guilt by the
prosecution
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But most people presume defendant is guilt and more prove their innocence
(shown by surveys)
prosecution
Must allow any possible eligible person from the community the
opportunity to part of the jury
Achieved through randomness (i.e. from community telephone directory
or voter registration that is used to randomly draw 100 or so names for
potential jurors)
Defendant was an Aboriginal woman
Jury composed for her trial was successfully challenged for having
too many women
Crown or defense can challenge composition of jury arguing that is
doesn't represent the community on some characteristics i.e. R. vs.
Nepoose (1991) case
Aboriginals are under represented on juries
Key issue is that aboriginals living on reserves are not part of municipal
assessment lists that can be used to identify possible jurors (in particular
in Ontario)
Representativeness - composition that represents the community in which the
crime occurred
For a jury to be impartial must not have pre-existing biases,
prejudices or attitudes and must judge case solely on admissible
evidence
Juror must ignore an information that is not part of the admissible
evidence
Juror can have no connection to the defendant so that the juror
does not view the evidence subjectively or unduly influence the
other jurors
3 issues that juror characteristics of impartiality centers on
In Canada a publication ban is on case evidence until the end
of the trial
Damaging when it comes from TV in contrast to newspaper
reports
It reveals info about the defendant that wouldn't be allowed
into trial
Shapes opinion of potential jurors before they hear they trial
evidence, distorting interpretations of the rest of the case
Negative pre-trial publicity results in a bias against the accused
(increased exposure to negative pretrial publicity increases
numbers of guilty verdict)
Positive information biases jurors positively towards the
defendant
Rare to have this in real-life cases
Positive pre-trial publicity has an affect on verdicts
Threats
Publication bans occur at the preliminary hearing before the trial
begins
Crown or defense may argue trial should be moved to
another community because it would be very difficult to
obtain a partial jury from the local community (change of
venue) - party raising issue must demonstrate that there is a
reasonable likelihood that the local community is biased or
To increase the likelihood of an impartial jury
Keeping potential jurors impartial
Impartiality - a lack of bias on the part of jurors
Two characteristics of juries in Canada
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Characteristics and Responsibilities of Juries in Canada
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