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Psych 2990 Lecture 1 and 2.docx

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Psychology 2990A/B

Psych 2990 Lecture 1, January 14 Psychology and the Law Chapter 1: An Introduction The Canadian Jury: Selecting 12 representatives 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) eg. allowed in Ontario but not Quebec (no such thing as a civil jury trial in Quebec) 2. Criminal trials (offenses against the crown) "the crime you are charged with is against our lady the queen, her crown, and dignity" - There is a constitutional (Charter) right to a jury trial - But, only for more serious offenses (penalty of 5 years or more in prison) Part 2: The Role of Juries 3 basic roles: - They apply the law (as defined by judges) - To the admissible evidence, and - Render a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty Also assumed juries will play 2 other roles: - Juries "represent the community where the crime occurred" (adds legitimacy and public acceptance to their verdict - Serve as the "conscience" of the community (can guard against laws that are perceived to be unfair; e.g, Dr. Morgentaler and abortion laws). The jury can simply not find the person guilty.  4 or 5 different juries refused to find this Dr. guilty for giving abortions out of clinics when it was illegal - law was changed to allow legal abortions in private clinics Part 3: Two Characteristics of a "Good" Jury A. Representative of the community where the crime occurred 1. "Typical" selection procedure: - Obtain list of people in community (e.g., voter registration, local phone book)  This is the "jury pool" - Randomly select people from the jury pool (e.g., 100)  This is the "jury panel" - Each person on the panel is sent a jury summons (court order to appear for jury duty at a particular place at a particular time) - if you ignore the jury summons you can be fined or even sent to jail (but not for more than 5 years so you wouldn’t be able to get a jury trial lol) - Given a number and placed in a room with other people who have received jury summons (cant talk, eat, or drink in this room, very formal setting) - Numbers randomly selected (12 in criminal trials; 6 in civil trials). If your number is selected you will usually become a juror, unless: Things that can keep people OFF a jury: a) Not eligible for jury duty (varies by province) - e.g., in ON you must be a Canadian citizen, live in Ontario, 18+ must not be: member of the House of Commons or the senate; a judge, a lawyer, a law student, or a police officer; a medical doctor (MD), a vet, a coroner, if you have any physical or mental disability that would interfere with your ability to perform as a juror, or an ex-con. b) Being challenged by one of the lawyers (see below) - 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 the jury will be representative (biased: use a property list, no homeless people on jury, etc.) - a and b above limit representativeness of community - Lawyers can appeal verdict (get new trial) if it can be proved that the jury was not representative in an "important" way B. Juries must be Impartial or Unbiased 1. Involves three issues: a) Can set aside all pre-existing biases (prejudices; attitudes about type of crime) b) The juror must ignore all inadmissible evidence (e.g., things reported in the media) c) No connection to the accused, and no personal interest n a particular outcome of the trial 2. Steps taken to ensure impartiality: - Jurors must swear an oath to be impartial - 12 jurors (cancels-out biases of any single juror, see p 27-28) - Jurors can discuss deliberations after trial is over (it’s a criminal offence); not like in US (jurors are free to discuss anything) - Courts impose publication bans after a preliminary inquiry (limits what media can report) - this 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 (e.g., bodies on Pickton's pig farm) - Info is published after ban is imposed by people who aren't affected by the ban (American websites and TV e.g., Bernardo) B1. Can jurors ignore biased pretrial publicity? - Need to conduct research Interlude: Research Methods for Studying Juries 1. Interview actual jurors (cant do this in Canada - law says they cannot talk about their deliberations, can do this in the US) 2. Use simulated ("mock") juries (most popular method) E.g., recruit university student (or people from jury pool), randomly assigned to one of two groups (group 1 receives biased pretrial publicity, group 2 received no pretrial publicity). Both groups exposed to same trial evidence, measure verdicts (guilty or not guilty - can include "how guilty are they on a scale of 1-7, ask them to give a sentence) B2. Can jurors ignore biased pretrial publi
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