Final Notes

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16 Apr 2012

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Psychology and Law Final Notes
Juries: wisdom of 12, conscience of community, protect against
out of date laws, increase knowledge of justice system
Criminal cases: found in the Criminal Code, 12-member jury
Civil cases: breach of contract or other form of harm, 6-8-member jury
Summary offenses: <6 months in jail, <$2000, no jury
Indictable offenses: not serious = judge alone, very serious = judge &
jury, sometimes choice otherwise preliminary inquiry + judge & jury
Hybrid offenses: up to the Crown
Jury Selection
- Canada has Jury Act that outlines eligibility criteria, governed by
Federal Law
- People receive jury summons (time & place)
Peremptory challenge: no reason for juror rejection
Challenge for cause: reason must be provided either way lawyers
suck at selecting jurors
- Two people act as triers, third as prospective juror
- Triers judge third guy, if partial then new guy brought forth, new
guy acts as next trier
Scientific: evaluated based on predetermined characteristics of
sympathy for the case (can’t be done in Canada since lawyers may
not question prospective jurors)
Broad-based: looking for traits and attitudes during the voir dire
appropriate for prosecution or defense, i.e. dogmatism &
- Trial consultants to observe jurors during case and provide feedback
Case-specific: profiles ideal juror using facts of the case
*People alter answers depending on whether they want to serve,
dishonesty about bias or ignorance
Representativeness: allow any eligible person from the community,
random selection, but may still exclude some eligible candidates
Impartiality: must set aside any biases and ignore inadmissible evidence
(they suck at this, depends on strength of evidence, reason for
disregard more important than instruction, backfire effect [polar
bears]), media & emotion, have no connection to defendant people
tend to forget facts but remember emotion
- Change of venue, adjournment (delay, but memories fade and
witnesses may disappear), challenge for cause
Jury nullification: ignoring law due to other unique circumstances, less
likely to say guilty
High external validity: post-trial interviews (not in Canada), archives,
field studies
Internal validity: simulation
Note taking helps, though those who take notes may be seen as more
influential, up to judge
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Asking questions doesn’t matter, promotes understanding & jurors do
not ask unallowable questions or care if lawyer doesn’t answer them
Possible helpful things: rewriting instructions, written copy, pre&post
evidence instruction, lawyers clarify
Mathematical Model: jurors make mental calculations weighing the
evidence = not true
Explanation Model: evidence organized into story based on individual
differences, verdict consistent with story = true
- Polarization or leniency bias during deliberation
- Canada; unanimous needed or hung jury, US; majority rules
- Verdict driven vs. evidence driven juries start differently
- Demographics: not much racial bias, black sheep effect depending on
- Personality (persuasiveness): extroversion, agreeableness,
conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience
- Defendant: attractiveness and prior criminal history
- Woman’s sexual history presented only if relevant
- Expert credentials not relevant when testimony easy to follow
Sentencing: judicial determination of a legal sanction upon a
convicted person
Canadian court sentencing hierarchy: specific and general deterrence,
denounce unlawful conduct, separate offenders from society,
rehabilitate, repair victims, promote responsibility
Fundamental principle of sentencing: a sentence must be proportionate
to the gravity of the offence and degree of responsibility
- Great deal of discretion, maximum sentences rarely imposed unless
dangerous offender
Sentencing disparity: judges’ verdicts are often incompatible with each
- Systematic (consistent disagreement) & unsystematic (inconsistency
for the same offense, most common)
Sentencing guidelines: advisory (purely suggestive), presumptive
(force things unless reasonable reasons), mandatory (requirement no
matter what) BUT disparity often shifts to other legal pros
Need principle: target criminogenic needs
Risk principle: target those who are at risk for re-offending (but might
backfire if exposed to more antisocial people and result in an increase)
Responsivity principle: target general learning styles of the specific
Parole: actively reintegrating certain offenders into society as soon as
possible in order to enhance their chances of rehabilitation
- Regulated by National Parole Board who review the risk
- Offender must serve first third of sentence or seven years, the lesser
- Temporary absence (escorted or not), day (community-based
activities), full (serve sentence outside under community supervision),
statutory release (mandatory for most after serving two thirds of
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