Chapter 7: Juries: Fact Finders
Crimninal cases: are those in which an act was allegedly committed as found in the Criminal code
Civil cases: those that involve a breach of contract or other claims of “harm” (know as torts).
Types of cases Jury will hear:
•In Canada only a few types of trials are heard by jury, remained by judges alone.
3 Types of offences in Canada:
1.Summary offences: sentence = <6 months prison, sometimes up to 18 months, fine< $2000,
2.Indictable offences: 3 subtypes of indictable offences:
a.Less serious : heard by judge alone, ex: theft (but not theft of cattle) and failure to
comply to probation order.
b.Highly serious : tried by judge and jury. Ex: treason, murder, and piracy. If attorney
general and accused agree can be tried with judge alone.
c.Indictable offences not listed above . Ex: robbery, arson, sex assault with weapon.
Accused decides whether heard by jury, also the right to choose whether:
i.Tried by provincial or territorial court, without jury, and without preliminary
ii.Have a preliminary inquiry, and tried by judge, no jury.
iii.Have preliminary inquiry, and tried by judge and jury.
3.Hybrid offences: cross between indictable and summary offences. Max sentence = 5 or more
yrs. Up to crown attorney to decide if indictable or summary. If summary tried by judge
•Provincial and territorial legislation which outlines criteria for jury service, and how
prospective jurors are selected.
•Juror governed by federal law.
•Random names from telephone books or voters lists selected
Jury summons: a court order, states time and place for jury duty.
•No guarantee you will be selected.
•If you ignore, may incur serious legal penalty (fine or jail time)
•Arrive at courthouse
•Escorted to room with other potential jurors
•Not allowed to talk, eat, or drink
•In Canada 12 person jurors
2 Types of challenges lawyers can use to reject jurors:
1.Peremptory challenge: crown and defense have limited number of these. In murder trials=20
in most others=12. Lawyer allowed to use these to eliminate jurors not believed to help their
case, no need for reason required.
2.Challenge for cause: in contrast, lawyer must give a reason for rejecting prospective jurors.
a.Info given to lawyers about jurors is very limited to basic demographics.
b.Not allowed to ask prospective jurors questions.
c.Although prospective juror challenged, way still be selected for another trial.
Juror payment: Very shitty!
•$20 per day for first 10 days In Ontario same
•$60 per day for 11-49th days In Ontario $40 here
•$100 per day 50 days or more In Ontario same
•Jurors are responsible for their own lunches, but during deliberation meals and
accommodation provided, cause have to remain sequestered at this time.
•Sequestered: when jurors are isolated from others, except other jurors, until verdict reached.
Olczak et al. 1991: indicated that lawyers are not very good at selecting favourable jurors, as they
were more likely to make erroneous than accurate decisions.
Why? Cause demographic info and lawyer judgments insufficient for identifying favourable jurors.
Scientific jury selection: characters include
1.Broad based: presumption that certain traits and attitudes make people more likely to be pro
prosecution than pro defense. Individuals high on authoritarianism or dogmatism may be
more likely to side with the prosecution. Lawyers can ask jurors questions to asses these
traits directly during the voir dire: which is the question period when selecting jury.
2.Case specific: in contrast, issues and facts of the case, a specific questioner developed
assessing characteristics that may influence the verdict.
a.Lawyers stack the jury in their favour.
b.In United states trial consultants retained by lawyers monitor and provide feedback
on the juries demeanor.
2 methodologies for scientific jury selecetion:
1.Telephone surveys: asked about demographics, religious affiliation, attitudes, relevance to
2.Focus group mock jury trials: called at random, asked if willing to partake in mock trial,
mock jurors may view video.
2 fundamental characterists of juries in Canada:
1.Representativeness: represents the community where crime occurred, acheived through
randomness. Ex: voter registration list used.
2.Impartiality: jurors who are unbiased, 3 issues:
a.Must set aside biases/ prejudices/ attitudes based solely on admissible evidence.
b.Must ignore any info not part of admissible evidence Ex: media attention.
c.Have no connection to defendant.
Keeping potential jurors impartial:
•Before case goes to trial a preliminary hearing occurs, crown presents case against
•Judge determines sufficient evidence to proceed to trial
•In Canada, at this stage the judge places a ban on medias reporting before end of trial
Methods for increasing impartial jury:
1.Crown or defense agrue trial be moved to another community, change of venue
2.Alternative to moving a trial: adjunment to delaying trial until sometime in the future, major
limitation jurors/witnesses memories fade, witness might die.
3.Cases for which bias is suspected among jury pool: know as challenge for cause.
oCrown and defense may argue that although perspective jury pool partial,