Are eyewitness memories distorted by talking with other witnesses? Online Jury Research Update

May 1st, 2022|

Multiple witnesses often observe an incident and, on average, 86% engage in post-event discussion with their co-witnesses (Paterson and Kemp, 2006). Witness communication can contaminate the memories of co-witnesses. Information suggested by one witness becomes, over time, part of other witnesses' memories and the other witnesses then remember seeing information which they only heard from another eyewitness. Co-witness communication leads to conformity in memories across witnesses....Garry and colleagues (2008) investigated co-witness suggestibility by having pairs of participants sit together and watch a crime video....

How does media coverage of a case affect eyewitness memory? Online Jury Research Update

April 17th, 2022|

Journalists rely on eyewitnesses for many important details in news reports of legal cases. Reporters ask eyewitnesses questions and publish news reports of information that both includes and goes beyond what eyewitnesses say. Eyewitnesses both questioned and not questioned by reporters are exposed to the published news reports. Blom and Huang (2021) conducted three studies investigating whether news reporters taint eyewitness memories either directly through misleading questions to eyewitnesses or indirectly by publishing information that eyewitnesses then encounter....

Can false confessions be distinguished substantively or linguistically from true confessions? Online Jury Research Update

April 10th, 2022|

False confessions are not rare. The National Registrar of Exonerations has reported that of the 2,400 exonerees in their database, 292 (12 percent) had falsely confessed. The Innocence Project has helped exonerate 375 individuals incarcerated for murders and rapes through post-conviction DNA testing, of whom 28 percent falsely confessed. False confessions also are powerfully persuasive evidence of guilt. False confessions are potent even when the interrogation is coercive, the decision-makers are trial judges, the confessors are juveniles, the confessions are reported secondhand by a motivated informant, and the confessions are contradicted by DNA and other evidence (see, for review, Rizzelli

What effects do implicit bias instructions have on jurors? Online Jury Research Update

April 2nd, 2022|

Judges are increasingly using implicit bias instructions in jury trials. Implicit bias instructions are meant to educate jurors, transform what is implicit or unconscious into something recognizable to jurors, and steer jurors away from relying on implicit biases when considering evidence and making judgments. Lynch and colleagues (2022) explored the effect of an implicit bias instruction (warning about unconscious bias) versus a standard explicit bias instruction (warning about the need to avoid prejudice) in the context of possible racial bias in a mock trial study involving over 600 mock jurors....

Do jurors expect attorneys to use technology and graphics? Online Jury Research Update

March 28th, 2022|

Jurors exist in a day-to-day world consisting primarily of visual presentations of information, a world that eschews purely verbal presentations of information. A courtroom trial exists is a very different world, a world that often emphasizes the verbal and oral over the visual and technological. Between 2011 and 2017, a federal district judge in the Northern District of Illinois, Honorable Amy St. Eve, asked over 500 jurors in some 50 civil and criminal trials to complete a voluntary, anonymous questionnaire at the conclusion of their jury service (St. Eve & Scavo, 2018; St. Eve, 2021). Jurors were asked five questions,

How do juror legal attitudes affect verdicts in criminal cases? Online Jury Research Update

March 6th, 2022|

Jurors do not experience a criminal trial as neutral blank slates. Jurors come to the trial with pre-existing attitudes and beliefs about many issues, including about the legal system. Social science researchers have used the Pre-Trial Juror Attitude Questionnaire (PJAQ) to measure a juror legal attitudes in criminal cases (Lecci & Myer, 2008). The PJAQ asks people to agree or disagree with statements that address their conviction proneness, confidence in the legal system, views of innate criminality, cynicism towards the defense, social justice and racial bias. People agreeing with many PJAQ statements have harsher attitudes toward criminal defendants. Statements on

What attorney conduct annoys jurors? Online Jury Research Update

March 1st, 2022|

Jurors typically have strong opinions about the attorneys in their case, impressed by some conduct and irritated by other conduct. Between 2011 and 2017, a federal district judge in the Northern District of Illinois, Honorable Amy St. Eve, asked more than 500 jurors in some 50 different trials to complete a voluntary, anonymous questionnaire at the conclusion of their jury service about what they liked and disliked about the conduct of attorneys in their case (St. Eve & Scavo, 2018; St. Eve, 2021). Jurors were asked to list in order (1) three things that the lawyers did during trial that

How do gruesome photographs affect liability verdicts? Online Jury Research Update

February 14th, 2022|

In civil cases, attorneys often show jurors gruesome images of a plaintiff's injuries. Photographs are often presented not only to describe and inform jurors of injuries, but also to arouse emotions in jurors of sympathy, disgust, fear, anger and sadness. Research has shown that liability decisions are affected by viewing gruesome photographs. For example, one study found that viewing photographs of a girl who had been hit by a car and suffered a bleeding head wound significantly increased liability verdicts relative to those who learned the details about the injury but did not see the photographs (Bright and Goodman-Delahunty, 2011).