PSYC 2400 Study Guide - Final Guide: Jury Nullification, Penrod, Summary Offence

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16 Feb 2016
Chapter 7, Lecture 7: JURIES
The right to a jury
1) Summary oences are tried by judge alone.
2) Indictable oences
a. less serious indictable oences (ex. theft) are heard by a judge
sitting alone
b. highly serious indictable oences (ex. treason, murder, piracy)
must be tried by judge and jury
c. for some indictable oences, the accused can choose whether
the trial proceeds by judge and jury or judge alone
3) Hybrid oences can proceed as…
a. Summary oences are tried by judge alone.
b. Indictable oences are categorized by seriousness (refer to #2).
Characteristics of a jury
-Representativeness: a jury composition that represents the community
where the crime occurred and is achieved through randomness
-Impartiality: a lack of bias on the part of jurors
Functions of a jury
-Apply the law, as provided by the judge, to the admissible evidence in the
case and to render a verdict of guilt or innocence
1. To use the wisdom of 12 (rather than the wisdom of one) to reach a
2. To act as the conscience of the community
3. To protect against out-of-date laws
4. To increase knowledge about the justice system
Methods for studying jury decision-making
1. Post-trial Interviews
-in Canada, actual jurors aren’t allowed to discuss what occurred in
-researchers can turn to the United States or other countries that don’t
have this rule
2. Archives
-records of trials, such as transcripts and police interviews of
witnesses, can be reviewed to uncover relationships among variables
-both have high external validity (results from real cases and actual jurors)
more applicable to the real world
-both are unable to establish cause-and-eect relationships
3. Simulation
-researchers simulate a trial, or aspects of it
-participants are presented with the trial information, and the
researcher can vary and manipulate this trial information
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-following the presentation of the trial, participants are asked to
respond individually (juror research) or in groups (jury research)
-verdicts and other participants’ responses can be compared to
determine whether the independent variable(s) had an eect
-high internal validity (researchers can reveal cause-and-eect
relationships) which limits the external validity
4. Field studies
-involves using actual jurors while they’re serving on jury duty, so
cooperation from the courts and the jurors is required
-high external validity
Jury nullication occurs when a jury ignores the law and the evidence,
rendering a verdict based on some other criteria
Methods of reducing juror bias
-Change of venue: moving a trial to a community other than the one in which
the crime occurred
-Adjournment: delaying the trial until sometime in the future
-Challenge for cause: an option to reject biased jurors (*this process is
unique to Canada*)
1. Two individuals are selected from the jury pool and are sworn to act as
2. A third person is selected as as a prospective juror
3. The lawyers or judge question the prospective juror, while the two
triers listen to the answers provided
4. The triers then discuss the answers with each other to reach a
unanimous decision as to whether the prospective juror is impartial
5. If the triers decide that the prospective juror isn’t impartial, they’re
dismissed, another person is selected to be a prospective juror, and
the process begins again
6. If the triers decide that the prospective juror is impartial, then that
person becomes the <rst member of the jury and replaces one of the
Jury decision-making models
-Mathematical models
-they view jurors as conducting a set of mental calculations regarding
the importance and strength of each piece of evidence
-a guilty or not guilty verdict is determined by the outcome of the
calculations for all the relevant evidence
-inconsistent with how jurors report that they reach verdicts
-jurors don’t appear to provide a value for each piece of evidence
-Explanation models
-evidence is organized into a coherent whole
-Pennington and Hastie’s story model
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Jurors are active at understanding and processing the
Jurors interpret and elaborate on the evidence and make
causal connections, and in doing so, they create a story
These stories are then compared with each verdict option
presented by the judge
The verdict option most consistent with the story is the
verdict reached
Jury deliberation issues
-Polarization: when individuals tend to become more extreme in their initial
position following a group discussion
-Leniency bias: when jurors move toward greater leniency during
-Verdict driven: start deliberation with an initial verdict
-Evidence driven: start deliberation by discussing evidence
Juror comprehension aids
Advantages (Penrod & Heuer) Disadvantages (R. v. Andrade)
Memory aid
Don’t overemphasize the evidence that they’ve noted at the expense of
evidence they’ve not recorded
Don’t produce a distorted view of the case
Keep up with the evidence being presented
Don’t distract jurors who don’t take notes
Don’t have an inBuence over those
who don’t take notes
Exert inBuence while in deliberation
over those who don’t take notes
Accurate record of the trial If disagreements occur about the
evidence, jurors will rely on those
who took notes to clarify the issue
Doesn’t favour a side
-Asking Questions
Advantages (Penrod & Heuer) Disadvantages (Penrod &
Promotes juror understanding of the
facts and the issues
Don’t clearly help to get to the truth
Legally appropriate questions are
Don’t increase the jurors’, judges’,
or lawyers’ satisfaction with the trial
and verdict
The jury doesn’t draw inappropriate
inferences from unanswered
Jurors don’t become advocates
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