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Psychology 2990A/B Study Guide - Jury Trial, Publication Ban, Henry Morgentaler

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Psychology and the Law
Chapter 1: An Introoduction
The Canadian Jury: Selecting 12 Representative and Impartial Peers
Part 1: How common are jury trials?
-relatively rare (even though we believe it is common)
-2 types of trials:
1. civil trial (disputes between citizens/groups)
-ex: suing someone, dispute between you and your roommate or another
person, etc.
-no absolute right to a jury trial (depends on provincial legislation)
-ex: allowed in Ontario but not in Quebec (however even though they are
allowed they are still rare. In quebec, it will just be a judge alone. No jury0
2. criminal trials (offences against the crown) (lol against the queen, her crown and
dignity- this is what is means by against the crown)
-constitutional (charter) right to a jury trial extends to only some criminal
-only for more serious offences (penality of 5 years or more in prison)
Part 2: Role of Juries
-they apply the law (as defined by judges)
-to the admissible evidence, and
-render an unamimous verdict of guilty or not guilty
(unspoken assumption)
-juries “represent the community where the crime occurs” (adds legitimacy and
public acceptance to verdicts) same area of where they live and where it
-serve as “conscious” of community (can guard against laws perceived to be unfair;
ex: Dr. Morgentaler and abortion laws when 4 or 5 juries did not find him guilty of
performing abortions in private clinic, the Canadian government changed the law so
that this was no longer illegal. Because in all these juries, they took the “moral”
view he should not be guilty if he is trying to help people even though it is illegal
Part 3: Two Characteristics of a “good” jury
a. representative of a community where the crime occurred: the jury must
resemble the community
1. “typical” selection procedure:
-obtain list of people in community (ex: voter registration; census; local
phone book) “jury pool”

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-randomly select people from pool (ex 100) “jury panel” (subgroup of
the jury pool, they are actually called in)
-each person on panel is sent a jury summons (court order to appear for
jury duty)
-if you ignore jury summon, you can get fined, it is an illegal offence
-given number and placed in jury room
-can’t eat or talk in this room
-numbers are randomly selected (12 in criminal trials; 6 in civil trials)
these people “usually” become jurors UNLESS: (2 reasons)
2. things that can keep people off a jury:
a. not eligible for jury duty (varies by province)
ex: In Ontario: Must be
-canadian citizen; live in Ontario; 18+
Must not be:
-member of House of Commons, senate;
-judge, lawyer, law student, police officer;
-Medical doctor, vet, coroner, a disability; ex-con
*In Canada, when selecting jury pool sent out eligibility. Once that is sent back, the
panel can be decided. (this is for efficiency, do not want panel to be not able to
b. being challenged by one of the lawyers (see below)
-if successful, person is sent back to jury room (might be selected for another
3. things to note about selection procedure:
-no guarantee that jury will be representative
-ex: biased “pool” (ex no homeless people)
- a and b above limit representativeness
-lawyers can appeal verdict (get new trial) if it can be proved that jury
was NOT representative in “important” way
-more popular in some native trials where there were not enough
native Canadians in the jury (some trials had no natives- that is why jury
not seen as legitimate, esp when trial is about native Canadians)
b. Juries must be Impartial or Unbiased
1. Involves three issues:
(a) can set aside all pre-existing biases (prejudges; attitudes about type of
(b) must ignore all inadmissible evidence (ex things reported in the media)
(c) no connection to accused; no personal interest in a particular outcome of
the trial
2. Steps taken to ensure impartiality:
-jurors swear oath to be impartial, (they will also be reminded by judge
before trial)
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