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

How do transcriptions of ambiguous words in electronic recordings affect jurors? | Online Jury Research Update

July 22nd, 2023|

Electronic recordings presented to jurors at trial often are accompanied by a written transcript to aid understanding of what is said. Transcription of electronic recordings is challenging even for professionally trained transcribers. The transcriptions of even highly trained professional transcribers disagree frequently and vary significantly from each other...Zhang (2022) examined how juror decision-making is affected by the way dubious words are presented in transcripts of degraded covert forensic audio recordings....

When is the best time to give transcripts of recordings to jurors? | Online Jury Research Update

July 22nd, 2023|

Transcripts exert a strong influence on jurors' perceptions of electronic recordings, even when the transcripts are demonstrably inaccurate, misleading or downright implausible. Zhang(2022) examined how giving jurors a transcript of an electronic recording before, with, or after they listen to the recording affects their understanding of what was said on the recording. A total of 281 jury-eligible mock jurors listened to 20 short audio recordings adapted from an actual case. Mock jurors were divided into four groups based on when they were given transcripts for the audio recordings: (1) transcripts given before each audio recording, (2) transcripts given with each

Do Republicans and Democrats agree about the seriousness of crimes? | Online Jury Research Update

June 29th, 2023|

Historically, Republicans and Democrats have differed in their views about crime. Recently, Republicans and Democrats have changed their views of crime, law enforcement and the seriousness of various offenses. Robert W. McGee and colleagues (2022) explored the relationship between political party affiliation and jurors' attitudes toward a variety of specific criminal offenses. More than 500 jury-eligible, young, educated adults of varying backgrounds, genders, religions, ethnicities and political persuasions were asked to grade how serious they considered 75 specific crimes....

Are criminal defense computer animations more persuasive to jurors than still photographs? | Online Jury Research Update

June 22nd, 2023|

Computer-generated animations, which recreate or illustrate an alleged sequence of events, are increasingly being used by lawyers to accompany witness testimony. Visual aids such as computer-generated animations are designed not only to depict events, but also to influence jurors' beliefs about those events. Rempel and Burke (2022) examined the effect of visual aids on juror beliefs about a criminal defendant's testimony in a second-degree murder case that was based on a real civil case in Los Angeles County...

Does victim crying while testifying affect verdicts in rape cases? | Online Jury Research Update

May 26th, 2023|

When recounting traumatic events, victims often cry, although not always in the courtroom. In the courtroom, some victims are stoic while others are emotional. The 'emotional witness effect' is a phenomenon in which listeners are affected by the emotional manner in which an alleged victim recounts what happened to them. For example, distressed female rape complainants (i.e., those crying or sobbing) are perceived by psychologists, police officers, judges and students to be more credible than controlled or neutral rape complainants (Nitschke et al., 2019). Do jurors similarly find alleged rape victims who cry to be more credible? do jurors respond

Which emotions hurt and help witness trustworthiness? | Online Jury Research Update

May 3rd, 2023|

When testifying, witnesses can sound sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, happy or neutral, and exhibited emotions affect jurors' judgments of witness trustworthiness. Emotions affect acoustic properties of voices (e.g., pitch, breathiness, hoarseness, resonance, speech rate, etc.). Researchers find that speakers exhibiting varying acoustic properties to be differentially trustworthy. Voices also carry stereotypical information about a speaker's race and gender, both of which also can impact perceptions of trustworthiness even when no visual cues are available. Forde-Smith and Feinberg (2023) investigated the credibility of witnesses of different races and genders when conveying a variety of emotions. The researchers had 548 mock jurors