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Psych 2990 Ch. 1 September 18.docx

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Psychology 2990A/B
Doug Hazlewood

The Canadian Jury: Selecting 12 Representative and Impartial Peers Part 1: How Common are Jury Trials? A: Two Types of Trials 1. Civil Trials (disputes between citizens/groups) -no absolute right to a jury trial (depends on provincial legislation) e.g. allowed in Ontario not Quebec 2. Criminal Trials (offences against the crown) -constitutional (charter) right to a jury trial - but only for more serious offences (penalty of 5 years or more in prison) Part 2: The Role of Juries  They apply the law (as defined by judges)  To the admissible evidence  Render a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty  Juries represent the community (adds legitimacy and public acceptance to verdicts)  Serve as “conscience” of community (can guard against laws that are perceived to be unfair; e.g Dr. Morgentaler and abortion laws... the jury multiple times would not find him guilty of practicing abortion in a private office so the government made a law allowing abortions in private offices Part 3: Two Characteristics of a “Good” Jury a. Representative of community where the crime occurred (long ago juries were mainly white males) 1. “Typical” selection procedure: -obtain list of people in the community (e.g. voter registration, census, local phone book) -“jury pool” -randomly select people from pool (e.g. 100) -“jury panel” -each person on the panel is sent a jury summons (court order to appear for jury duty) -given number and placed in jury room - numbers are randomly selected (12 in criminal trials, 6 in civil trials) - these people “usually become jurors unless 2. things that can keep people off a jury: (a) not eligible for jury duty (varies by province) e.g in Ontario must be a Canadian citizen, live in Ontario, 18+. Must not be member of House of Commons, senate, judge, lawyer, law student, police officer, MD, vet, coroner, a physical or mental disability that interferes, ex-con (b) being challenged by one of the lawyers, if successful, person is sent back to jury room (might be selected for another trial) 3. Things to note about selection procedure: - no guarantee that jury will be representative e.g biased “pool” e.g. no homeless people - (a) and (b) above limit representativeness -Lawyers can appeal verdict (get new trial) if it can be proved that the jury was not representative in “important” way Juries must be “impartial” 1. Involves three issues: a. Can set aside all pre-existing biases (prejudices’ attitudes about type of crime) b. Must ignore all inadmissible evidence (e.g. things reported in the media) c. No connection to accused; no personal interest in particular outcome of trial 2. Steps taken to ensure impartiality: a. Jurors swear an oath to be impartial b. 12 jurors (cancels out biases of any single juror, see p.27-28) c. Jurors can’t discuss deliberations after trial is over (it’s a criminal offence); not like in US! d. Courts impose publication bans after a preliminary inquiry (limits what media can report)- prevents bias in jury pools? Part 4: Are Publication Bans Effective in Preventing Bias? A. Do bans prevent biased info from being published? Not always – info is published before ban is imposed and –info is published after ban is imposed (American web sites and TV) B. Can jurors ignore biased pretrial publicity? Research Evidence: Review of 44 Studies (1999): Moderate positive relation between exposure to biased publicity and guilty verdicts (more exposure; more guilt) Also depends on content and timing of publicity. Kramer simulation study: participants watched video of robbery trial. Prior to trial, researchers manipulated: Exposure to negative pretrial publicity (Yes or No), Content of Publicity- factually biased (accused had a prior criminal record)- emotionally biased (young girl seriously injured by car that matched get-away car), Timing of Publicity- immediately (or 12 days) before trial, Results: biased pretrial publicity  more guilty verdicts, verdi
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