Textbook Notes (363,264)
Canada (158,281)
Psychology (646)
PSYC 2400 (69)


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Carleton University
PSYC 2400
Craig Bennell

The Cases Heard by Jury - Summery Convictions: o Minor offences which are less than six months (but some offences can be 18 months) or have a fine of less than $2000, cannot ask for a jury - Indictable Offences: (3 types) o (1) Less serious offences (like theft or failure to comply with probation order) heard by judge sitting alone o (2) More serious offences (like murder, treason, piracy) are tried by judge and jury, but can proceed by judge alone if the attorney general and accused agrees o (3)Some offences (like sexual assault with weapon, arson, etc.) accused can choose if they want a judge and jury or a judge alone, because these offences are not listed under the criminal code, they have option to (1) be tried in provincial or territorial court judge, not jury with no preliminary inquiry, (2) have a preliminary inquiry and tried by judge alone, (3) have preliminary inquiry, an be tried by judge and jury o If defendant doesn’t choose then has to tried by (3) - Hybrid Offences: o Cross between summery and indictable offences o Crown attorney will decide if the case will be indictable or summery Jury Selection - Juries Act: provincial and territorial legislation that outline the eligibility criteria for jury service and how prospective jurors must be selected o The act may vary across jurisdiction (ie. minimum age to be a juror, or professions) but there is a number of commonalities - The prospective jurors receive a jury summons - a court order that states a time and place to go for jury duty o Juror summons will not guarantee a spot s a jury, just means you are expected to show up, if you ignore, then you will get a legal penalty like a fine or jail time - Canadian lawyers have limited information on prospective jurors and cannot ask them questions to gain more information about them, making it harder for them to cut out the jurors they do not want - If jurors are challenged, they can still be selected for other trials - 2 types of challenges that a lawyer can use to reject a potential juror: o Peremptory Challenge:  This is where they reject jurors who they believe are unlikely to reach a verdict in their favour, they don’t need to provide a reason for rejecting the prospective juror  Allowed up to 20 in murder trials and 12 in others o Challenge for Cause:  An option to reject bias jurors  Must give a reason for rejecting the prospective juror  Crown or defence may argues that although the prospective jury pool my be partial, if questioned these jurors could be identified and rejected from serving on jury  The crown/defence must prove that there is reasonable partiality in the community from which the jury pool is drawn from, if judge grants then lawyers can ask limited amount of questions approved by the judge  Not allowed to ask person questions, only questions that examine juror’s state of mind or thinking  Two people are selected from the jurors are act as triers, then another is selected as a prospective juror, lawyer or judge asks the questions and two tries listen to answer, they then discuss and decide (unanimously) if the prospective juror is impartial  If selected, then they become the trier, if not then the process begins again with new prospective juror Characteristics and Responsibilities of Juries in Canada - 2 fundamental characteristics of jurors o (1) A composition that represents the community in which the crime occurred, aka representativeness  Must allow any possible eligible person from the community the opportunity to be part of the jury, through randomness  Can be done with things like phone books or voter registration  Can argue that it does not represent everyone and can leave people out (like homeless)  Juries Act list also doesn’t let certain people serve as jury, which limits the representation of the jury pool  Crown or defence can argue that the jury don’ represent the community o (2) A lack of bias on the part of jurors, aka impartiality  (1) Must be able to leave all pre existing biases, prejudice or attitude and judge case based on the admissible evidence, ex. belonging to an ethnic group  (2) Must be able to able to ignore information that is not considered admissible evidence, ex. media attention of the defendant  (3) Jurors have no connection to the defendant, this is so the evidence is not viewed subjectively or unduly influence the other jurors - Threats to Impartiality o Emotionally charged headlines can determine if the juror is negatively or positively bias towards the defendant, if the media is positive so are the jurors, if they are negative so are the jurors - Keeping Impartial Jurors Impartial o Preliminary trial is set before they go to trial, this is where the Crown has to show what evidence they have about the accused  Usually have a public ban so that jurors have less potential to be impartial because the information is not leaked o The legal options to decrease bias or partiality  Change of Venue: Crown or defence argues that the trial should be moved to a different community because obtaining a impartial jury would be hard in that community  Party must raise that there is a reasonable likelihood the local community is bias or prejudice against the defendant  Factors like extensive pre-trial publicity, heinous crime, and a small community in which many people know the victim or defendant  Usually takes place within the province or territory in which the crime occurred  Adjournment: Delaying the trial until sometime in the future, allowed sufficient time to pass so that the biasing effect of any pretrial information has dissipated by the time the trial takes place  Can be a problem because witnesses can also lose their memory, or they can move or die, is not used much  Challenge for Cause: look above Jury Function - Main legal function for jurors is to apply the law as defined by the judge to the admissible evidence and to render a verdict of guilt or innocence - Other legal functions of juries: o To use the wisdom of 12 (rather than the wisdom of 1) to reach a verdict o To act as the conscience of the community o To protect against out of date laws o To increase knowledge about the justice system - Ignoring the Law o Ignoring the law and the evidence and rendering a verdict based on some other criteria is known as jury nullification o Juries may ignore laws if they believe the law is unfair given the circumstances of the case or the punishment is accompanying a harsh conviction for the crime o Jury nullification usually happens with cases involving controversial issues like abortions or euthanasia o Research discovered that nullification instructions may influence jury decision making “producing both socially favourable and unfavourable verdicts” o When jurors were given a standard jury instruction, they reported referring to the legal aspect of the case to make their decisions How do we Study Juror and Jury Behav
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