PSYC 215 Chapter appendixA: LAW NOTES.docx

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18 Apr 2015
Jury Selection
Random selection from sheriff office of eligible people
Cant know anyone involved in trial victim, accused, witness, police
Voir Dire: assessment of jurors for signs of bias, only name, address an occupation is
know about juror in Canada
peremptory challenges: limited number of jurors either side of lawyers can exempt with
out judges approval without need of explanation
challenges for “cause”: unlimited number of jurors that can be challenged and if the
judge agrees excluded due to perceived bias or unsuitableness, can be entire community
Trial Lawyers as Intuitive Psychologists
lawyers may rely on implicit personality theories and stereotypes
Implicit personality theory: a set of assumptions that people make about how certain
attributes are related to each other and to behavior when applied to groups of people they
are stereotypes
Contrary to popular opinion, women are harsher as criminal trial jurors than men
are. FALSE.
Can be detrimental to defendant removing all peers from the jury leads to lack of
understanding and can lead to discrimination
Samuel Sommers and Michael Norton (2008) point to two problems:
(1) The influence of conscious and unconscious racial stereotypes on social perceptions is
prevalent and likely to influence lawyers in the courtroom; and
(2) these racial biases are difficult to identify in specific instances because lawyers, like
everyone else, typically do not acknowledge having been influenced by their stereotypes
However researchers have found that most lawyers cannot effectively predict how jurors
will vote, either on the basis of their intuitive rules of thumb or by relying on how
prospective jurors answer questions during the voir dire
The Courtroom Drama
Lawyers for both sides make opening statements. Witnesses then answer questions under
oath. Lawyers make closing arguments. The judge instructs the jury. Yet there are many
problems in this all-too-human enterprise: The evidence may not be accurate or reliable,
jurors may be biased by extraneous factors, and judges' instructions may fall on deaf ears.
Confession Evidence
Police Confessions/Interregation
put suspects into a small, bare, soundproof room—a physical environment designed to
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arouse feelings of social isolation, helplessness, and discomfort
9 steps of interrogation or Reid Technique
Two approaches:
1. pressure the suspect into submission with certainty guilt claiming to have
damaging evidence such as fingerprints or an eyewitness accused believe
it is futile to mount a defense.
2. befriend the suspect, offer sympathy and friendly advice, and “minimize”
the offence by offering face-saving excuses or blaming the victim, false
sense of security, expect leniency, the suspect caves in.
Table A.1: The Nine Steps of Interrogation
(Inbau et al., 2001.)
1Confront the suspect with assertions of his or her guilt.
2Develop “themes” that appear to justify or excuse the crime.
3Interrupt all statements of innocence and denial.
4Overcome all of the suspect's objections to the charges.
5Keep the increasingly passive suspect from tuning out.
6Show sympathy and understanding, and urge the suspect to tell all.
7Offer the suspect a face-saving explanation for his or her guilty action.
8Get the suspect to recount the details of the crime.
9Convert that statement into a full written confession.
False Confessions
Compliance: merely to escape a bad situation
Internalization: kind of social influence, interrogation causes innocent suspects to believe
that they might be guilty of the crime
Caused by:
(1) a suspect who lacks a clear memory of the event in question, therefore vulnerable to
(2) presentation of false evidence, a technique that the police sometimes use, false
Classic Attributional dilemma: A suspect's statement may indicate guilt (personal
attribution), or it may simply be a way to avoid the aversive consequences of silence
(situational attribution)
Fundamental attribution error? In Chapter 4, we saw that people tend to overattribute
behaviour to persons and overlook the influence of situational forces. Is it similarly
possible that jurors view suspects who confess as guilty, even if they were highly
pressured to confess during interrogation? YES people are powerfully influenced by
evidence of a confession—even, sometimes, when they concede that this confession
was coerced. Camera angle example
The Lie-Detector Test
People confess after being told they fail lie detector
Physiological measures
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