How are jurors affected by the image size of presented videos? | Online Jury Research Update

April 16th, 2024|

Courtroom videos are presented in a variety of ways to jurors, being shown on such devices as small screens in the jury box, big screen television monitors, and large format projection screens. How does the size of video images presented to jurors -- small, medium or large -- influence jurors' decisions? Wendy Heath and Bruce Grannermann (2014) examined the effect of video image size on jurors' verdicts. A total of 263 jury-eligible mock jurors were presented a trial summary about a female defendant charged with murder. For half of the jurors, the trial summary presented strong evidence against the defendant,

Does attorney attractiveness influence judicial decision-making? | Online Jury Research Update

March 23rd, 2024|

Physical attractiveness is one of the most common cues used when people make decisions about everything from employment (hiring, promotions, compensation) to education (grades, attention from teachers) to medicine (attention from doctors, healthiness, trustworthiness) to elections (electoral success)... Nicholas Waterbury (2024) examined the success of physically attractive non-government ("opposition") attorneys arguing against US government attorneys in U.S. federal court. A dataset was created of all orally argued cases at the US Courts of Appeals from 2017 to 2019 in which the US government was a party. The dataset included 1,067 unique cases, 930 unique opposition attorneys representing clients litigating against

How do jurors apply the presumption of innocence? | Online Jury Research Update

February 17th, 2024|

Jurors who fail to reserve judgment against a defendant until after they hear the evidence are neither fair nor impartial. A problem for jurors is that the legal presumption of innocence can be at odds with their beliefs, pre-evidence, about the factual innocence of any defendant put on trial. Jurors recognize that criminal defendants are on trial because police officers, prosecutors, and preliminary hearing judges or grand jurors believe them to be guilty. Jurors also gain information in voir dire that can bias them with respect to the factual innocence of a criminal defendant. A key question is whether the

Can jurors and judges disregard discredited information? | Online Jury Research Update

February 9th, 2024|

People, including judges and jurors, have a tendency to believe the information they receive. Taking information as true by default is referred to as the truth bias. Sometimes, the information people receive is discredited. When that happens, people are more likely to misremember as true a piece of information they have been told is false, than to misremember as false a piece of information they have been told is true (Pantazi, et al., 2020). Are judges and jurors, as legal fact-finders, able to disregard discredited information? Said differently, are judges and jurors able to set aside their truth bias and

How are settlements perceived? | Online Jury Research Update

November 8th, 2023|

At times, settlement agreements are entered into evidence in jury trials or decision-makers become aware of prior settlement agreements. Are settling defendants perceived as responsible for alleged conduct or is settlement perceived more neutrally as a convenient (less costly, less time-consuming) resolution? Do settlements send different signals than those conveyed by allegations, complaints, verdicts or other case resolutions? Bregant and colleagues (2021) conducted two studies exploring how the lay public views settlement in terms of both the parties' reasons for settling and the defendant's inferred responsibility for the alleged conduct....

Is conviction less likely when evidence is circumstantial? | Online Jury Research Update

September 26th, 2023|

It has been argued that jurors often undervalue circumstantial evidence (fingerprints, DNA, etc.) and overvalue direct evidence (eyewitness identifications, confessions), even when the circumstantial evidence is more reliable than the direct evidence (Heller, 2006). A reluctance to impose liability on the basis of circumstantial evidence is referred to as the anti-inference bias. How much does the anti-inference bias affect verdicts in criminal cases? Zamir and colleagues (2017) conducted four experimental studies to test the scope of factfinders' aversion towards circumstantial evidence and found that... Teichman and colleagues (2023) examined the extent of the anti-inference bias in the decision-making of jurors,

Are angry jurors more influential in deliberations? | Online Jury Research Update

September 19th, 2023|

It is not uncommon for jurors to express anger during deliberations. Does a juror's anger affect their influence on other jurors during deliberations? Are angry jurors either more or less persuasive than non-angry jurors? Salerno and Peter-Hagene (2015) investigated the differential effects of men and women's anger expression on social influence during mock jury deliberations. The researchers also compared anger expression to fear expression.....

How accurate are litigators at predicting case outcomes? | Online Jury Research Update

September 12th, 2023|

Research has found that an attorney's estimate of the probability of success is the most crucial variable in shaping decisions whether to litigate or settle a case in controversy (see, for review, Goodman-Delahunty et al., 2010; Jeklic, 2023). Unlike parties to a case -- who frequently exhibit an overconfidence about prevailing in court -- attorneys are expected and trained to be more objective in their predictions. Said differently, attorneys are expected not to have a 'myside' bias. How realistic are attorneys' case outcome predictions? Do attorneys forecast outcomes accurately or do they exhibit a myside bias not unlike the parties

Does televising oral arguments diminish judicial legitimacy? | Online Jury Research Update

August 16th, 2023|

One decision on which many judges have exercised caution is whether to allow cameras in their courtrooms, fearing that cameras will diminish the perceived legitimacy of the courts. While many state supreme courts and three federal circuit courts currently allow cameras in their courtrooms at least some of the time (Kromphardt and Bolton, 2022), most federal appellate courts and a number of state supreme courts have chosen not to open their courts to cameras. Generally speaking, the appellate courts that prohibit cameras at oral argument allow audio recordings of the arguments (as opposed to blanket prohibition on any recordings at

Are negative themes more persuasive than positive themes in legal advocacy? | Online Jury Research Update

August 7th, 2023|

Despite a common refrain in civil and criminal cases that "the facts speak for themselves", research finds that attorneys are more persuasive if they speak for the facts using a narrative form that forwards one or more case themes. Chestek (2017) investigated the persuasiveness of negative and positive case themes on judges' decisions. A total of 163 judges from different jurisdictions and in different types of courts read excerpts of a summary judgment brief that began with a preliminary statement of a hypothetical case and was followed by a stipulation of facts stated in a neutral tone that both sides