Which jurors are most and least likely to harbor implicit racial bias? | Online Jury Research Update

March 18th, 2023|

While racial biases are often an uncomfortable topic to discuss in voir dire, jurors at least know whether they harbor explicit racial biases. By contrast, implicit racial biases lie outside of conscious awareness and so jurors often explicitly deny or reject in voir dire that they are racially biased when they nevertheless are influenced by implicit racial biases. Social science research has begun to identify those individuals who are more likely and those who are less likely to harbor implicit racial biases. Much of this research has focused on implicit racial bias against Blacks. Greenwald and Krieger explored how various

Do trial court judges exhibit less gender bias than jurors when making decisions? | Online Jury Research Update

March 10th, 2023|

Gender is at the heart of many legal cases, including employment cases alleging gender discrimination and family law custody disputes between a mother and father. Unlike most jurors, trial court judges have substantial subject-matter and decision-making expertise to serve as a buffer against decisions reflecting their personal gender ideologies (e.g., traditional, non-traditional). Are trial court judge decisions less likely to exhibit gender bias than decisions of jurors? Miller (2019) compared the decision-making of 619 trial court judges in a state (69% of all trial court judges in the state) to 500 members of the public of jury-eligible age. Both groups

Are multiple-defendant trials prejudicial to defendants? | Online Jury Research Update

February 28th, 2023|

n the interests of cost and trial efficiency, criminal defendants accused of involvement in the same crime, conspiracy or transaction can be tried together rather than separately. The bar for serverance is high and defendants are frequently tried together. Wilford and colleagues (2018) tested whether trying two defendants together increased conviction rates using separate mock juror samples, one of which involved jury-eligible community members who watched a video of a murder trial -- adapted from an actual criminal case and filmed in a moot courtroom -- that included openings, closings, both prosecution and defense witness testimony, and judicial instructions that

Are family members effective alibi witnesses? | Online Jury Research Update

February 24th, 2023|

Criminal defendants profering an alibi defense rely almost exclusively on person evidence (e.g., family and friends) to support their alibi, and are often unable to provide physical evidence as a form of support... Typically, alibis provided by close friends and family are less believable than alibis provided by strangers... The issue remains as to whether a motivated alibi witness such as a family member, even though less believable than other alibi witnesses, is worth proferring at trial... Eastwood and colleagues (2020) examined the effects of the relationship between a suspect and an alibi witness in two studies....

Is expert remote testimony less credible than in-person testimony? | Online Jury Research Update

January 19th, 2023|

Attorneys use a variety of communication modalities to present expert testimony to jurors and judges, including telephonic, recorded, video-conferenced, in-person (in-court) and transcribed. Trow Jones (2023) examined the influence of in-person, telephonic and video-conferenced testimony modalities on jurors' judgments of an expert's credibility and the weight jurors assign to an expert's testimony when reaching verdicts....

How do jurors decide if a witness is telling the truth? | Online Jury Research Update

December 17th, 2022|

One of jurors' most common tasks in a trial is to assess witness truthfulness... While everyday deception detection is poor, jurors might be especially well-placed to assess the truth of witness accounts... Does the adversarial nature of a trial ... allow jurors to be better at judging witness veracity?... Chalmers and colleagues (2022) conducted an extensive and comprehensive investigation into how jurors assess witness veracity. Chalmers and colleagues' research involved two trial reconstructions -- of a non-sexual assault and a rape case -- scripted with input from legal practitioners, performed by actors, and professionally filmed and edited. A total of

How do jurors treat contracts formed as a result of fraud? | Online Jury Research Update

December 8th, 2022|

People are "contract formalists" (a) putting excessive weight on contracts' written terms (as compared to oral agreements), (b) believing that contracts are formed primarily through formalities such as signature and payment (even though contract law does not require such formalities), and (c) believing that a signed agreement obligates parties to abide by its terms (even when the agreement's terms go unread, the contract is unreasonably lengthy, or the terms are one-sided or unfair) (Wilkinson-Ryan, 2014; Wilkinson-Ryan and Hoffman, 2015). Said differently, people hold signees to a written contract's terms, even when the terms are buried in the fine print of

Does attorney incivility lose jury trials? | Online Jury Research Update

December 2nd, 2022|

Incivility in the courtroom is a widespread phenomenon that has myriad causes and takes myriad forms. Attorney rudeness, hostility, intimidation, personal attacks, unnecessary combativeness, poor manners and overzealous advocacy are examples of "Rambo Litigation" that violates norms of both courtroom decorum and mutual respect, and yet frequently occurs. Incivility increases judges' stress (Miller et al., 2021) and causes negative emotions in observers (e.g., anxiety, anger, disgust, fear) (see, for review, Edwards, 2022). Are jurors similarly affected by attorney incivility and, if so, does attorney incivility influence jurors' verdicts? Edwards (2022) examined how attorney incivility in the courtroom affected jurors' emotions,

How do jurors respond to a LGBTQ+ panic defense? | Online Jury Research Update

November 27th, 2022|

A LGBTQ+ panic defense is a legal strategy that asks jurors, directly or implicitly, to consider a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to explain a criminal defendant's violent reaction, including murder... Recent research has sought to identify characteristics of jurors that predispose them to finding a LGBTQ+ panic defense legitimate....

Do context-related nonprobative photos help or hurt a witness' credibility? | Online Jury Research Update

November 22nd, 2022|

hile information nonprobative to the truth of a statement is not admissible in court, it nonetheless often is presented as a part of probative evidence. .. Research has found that when judging the truth value of a statement, people's sense of the truth is affected by nonprobative information. For example, people are more likely to say a statement is true when accompanied by a context-related photo than when no photo is present... This "truthiness" effect reflects the influence of information nonprobative of the truth on people's judgments of truth. Derksen and colleagues (2020) conducted two experiments exploring the role of